Should the American Health Care Act passed by the House of Representatives earlier this month become law as it now stands, tens of thousands of residents of San Joaquin County could lose their health care coverage.
On Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office released its updated cost analysis of the American Health Care Act — three weeks after House members voted — projecting that 23 million people nationwide would lose coverage in 10 years under the version passed by the House.
“The impact on our county would be great. There would be the possibility of a large number of people not having affordable care anymore,” said Mike Miller, director of the San Joaquin County Human Services Agency that administers Medi-Cal, California’s version of federal Medicaid offering free or low-cost health coverage to low-income adults, families with children, seniors, the disabled, pregnant women, children in foster care and former foster youth up to age 26.
“And it’s not going to impact just San Joaquin County residents. The entire San Joaquin Valley has an even larger number of people who would lose health care if indeed the Affordable Care Act is scaled all the way back.”
As of March, Miller’s agency served 120,026 Medi-Cal cases, or families, representing approximately 250,000 individuals in San Joaquin County, he said. The county’s current population is estimated at about 730,000.
The most vulnerable people whose coverage is on the chopping block, according to Jen Flory with the Western Center on Law and Poverty, is what she referred to as “expansion adults,” those who were not previously covered by the original ACA until Medi-Cal eligibility was expanded.
“Many persons with disabilities would also lose their coverage,” Flory said, explaining that many of them were moved at some point into the expansion program.