The House and Senate Republicans are attempting to pass a health care bill that will be devastating to the health of California seniors, children and communities of color. The proposed bill would strip away healthcare from 20 million Americans and repeal consumer protections for millions of Californians. Below are highlights of the GOP plan. Republicans want to:
- Cut Medi-Cal by $20 billion or more out of a $100 billion program in California, undermining care for kids, people with disabilities, and seniors.
- Weakens the Medi-Cal expansion: Starting 2020, states would no longer receive the enhanced match for the Medi-Cal expansion populations rather states would receive the traditional match rate. For those enrolled prior to 2020, states would continue to receive the enhanced rate only if there is no break in coverage for longer than one month. Yet, the GOP plan also institutes more onerous enrollment burdens, which could easily result in people losing coverage. Combined these changes will result in a loss of continuous coverage for millions.
- Institute Drastic Cuts to Medi-Cal by requiring states to move to a per-capita cap financing system or a limit on federal spending for each Medi-Cal enrollee. This structure minimizes the flexibility of states to expand the program to new populations or to respond to changes in health care costs due to unforeseen factors such as higher prescription drug costs, increases in the prevalence of chronic disease or the adoption of new health care technology.
- Repeal ACA Cost-Sharing and Tax Credit Subsidies, replacing income-based assistance with a new Patient and State Stability Fund that provides states with flexibility to decide whether or how they will continue to provide financial assistance to their enrollees moving forward.
- Creates a new fine on individuals with a break in coverage, starting in 2019, enrollees in the individual market, including those with pre-existing conditions, would be required to maintain continuous coverage or pay a penalty. Individuals who go longer than 63 days without coverage would be assessed a 30% late enrollment surcharge on top of their base premiums for a full year. This provision would apply to enrollees during special enrollment starting in 2018.
- Eliminate Essential Health Benefits requirements in Medi-Cal, removing the protection and subsequent federal funding that helps to ensure Medi-Cal enrollees can access a broad range of health care services including mental health, substance use disorder, and preventive services.
- Repeal funding for the Prevention and Public Health Trust Fund (PPHTF) which provides support for community based prevention efforts, including controlling tobacco use, promoting healthy eating and active living, and providing communities with vital resources for immunizations. California stands to lose over $300 million in prevention funding over the next 5 years.
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) believes all people deserve access to affordable health care. Any new health care plan needs to provide the same coverage (or better) to the same number of people (or more) at the same or better price. The Republican plan does none of these things, and in fact would do the opposite, eliminating coverage for millions of low-income Californians, and eliminating ACA affordable coverage not just for policyholders, but potentially for people with employer sponsored health care as well.
The CPEHN staff is available for interviews and background on the effects of the proposed plans on Californians.