Protecting Health Coverage for Californians
Capping Medicaid Funding Would Cut Coverage for Millions of Californians
Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California) provides coverage to nearly 14 million Californians, over a third of the state, including 4.3 million children, two-thirds of nursing home residents, and many working families and individuals living in poverty.
Of the 10 counties with the highest shares of residents enrolled in Medicaid, six are in the San Joaquin Valley: Tulare (54.8%), Merced (50.9%), Fresno (49.9%), Kern (45.9%), Stanislaus (45.1%), and Madera (45.1%). However, millions of Californians — including children, older adults, and people with disabilities — would be at risk of losing Medicaid coverage or benefits if the US Senate agrees to the deep cuts in the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628).
These cuts include 1) phasing out the Medicaid expansion, through which California has extended coverage to nearly 4 million nonelderly adults, and 2) shifting massive costs to states by capping federal Medicaid funding. In California, this cost-shift would amount to nearly $6 billion in 2020, rising to an annual shift of $24.3 billion by 2027, according to a Department of Health Care Services analysis.
The Medicaid expansion extended coverage to over 3.6 million working Californians who cannot access employer coverage. Repeal of the Medicaid expansion alone would eliminate coverage to these 3.6 million working Californians. The impact would be felt especially hard in rural counties, where Medicaid covers a higher percentage of the population than it does in cities.
Potential proposals would undo Medicaid’s matching guarantee to California, and cap the money going to states. States would be forced to potentially choose between taking Medicaid funds as a block grant or a per-capita cap (per enrollee), neither of which provide sufficient funding to cover California’s ongoing need.
Medicaid is the Foundation of Children’s Health in California
Over 95% of all children in California now have access to coverage. Approximately half of California’s children, 4.3 million, are covered by Medicaid. Capping Medicaid funding would jeopardize California’s children's health as rising costs are shifted onto the state. California would have to choose between insuring fewer children, cutting children’s essential benefits, or increasing cost sharing for low-income parents.
Pregnant women with Medicaid have better health outcomes for their children during adulthood, including reduced rates of obesity and hospitalizations and improvements in oral health. In California, Medicaid covers more than half of all pregnancies and births.
Health Happens Here
In our neighborhoods, in our schools, in our grocery stores and our parks—every moment of the day the places where we spend our lives affect how long, and how well, we live. This innovative program aims to educate Californians on how to make health happen everywhere in their lives, not just at the doctor. United Ways of California is a strong supporter of this campaign and healthy behaviors for a better life.
To learn more about health policy issues:
To learn more about options for health coverage in California or to apply for coverage: