The American Health Care Act passed today by the U.S. House of Representatives will have a devastating impact on California’s children and families. This new version of the bill is significantly worse than the previous version, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would result in over 24 million Americans losing health insurance. Congress rushed this through before getting an independent analysis from CBO, which means that our nation’s leaders and their constituents have no idea how much worse it’s gotten and how many more people will lose coverage. At a minimum, we know that the bill guts Medicaid, cutting more than $800 billion over 10 years, and will cause at least 24 million more uninsured people within a decade. It will also expose everyone with private insurance, from their employer or purchased on their own, to discrimination for pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on care.
This bill also rolls back the Medicaid expansion that had improved the financial stability for California’s families as 1.2 million Californians have coverage because of this expansion.
The American Health Care Act will put many of our most vulnerable Americans at risk, especially children, people with disabilities and pregnant women. It will also place a cap on federal funding for Medicaid, blowing a hole in state budgets and leaving state and local taxpayers to foot the bill. This arbitrary cap on Medicaid will put over 700,000 of California’s children on Medi-Cal in harms way.
This measure makes everyone worse off, not just low-income people, because it also opens the door for insurers to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, putting kids with asthma, diabetes, heart defects and other conditions at risk. The bill’s addition of $8 billion to fund high-risk pools comes nowhere close to covering the cost of care for these kids and other people suffering from pre-existing conditions, and also ignores the historical failure of state-based high risk pools. The bill turns back the clock to a time when insurers could deny coverage for life-saving treatments by imposing annual and lifetime caps. These changes would significantly worsen coverage for private employer-based plans, affecting a potential 170 million employees.
We call on Senators Feinstein and Harris to stand up for California’s children, seniors, people with disabilities, pregnant women, families and those with pre-existing conditions who will be paying a dangerous price if this ill-conceived bill becomes law.