7.5 million could lose insurance

Republicans’ latest effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act could lead to 7.5 million Californians losing their health insurance over the next decade, a study shows.

Republicans“The effect on California would be devastating,” Covered California chief Peter Lee said in sharing the report by the organization’s chief actuary.

The GOP-backed plan, which has been losing key support in the past week, is sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La. The measure suffered a major blow Sept. 25 as Sen. Susan Collins of Maine joined Republicans Rand Paul and John McCain in rejecting it.

A reduction in federal benefits under the Graham-Cassidy plan — aka the American Health Care Act of 2017 — would result in 1 million Californians losing their private health insurance by 2020, the study said.

Nearly 1 in 4 Californians under the age of 65 would be uninsured — “far higher than the pre-ACA levels.”

The individual market would collapse as soon as 2021, the researchers said.

“The Graham-Cassidy plan would both substantially decrease the federal financial assistance to Californians who have benefited from the expansion of coverage under the Affordable Care Act, and it would also change the long-standing structure under which the Medi-Cal program is a shared effort between the federal government and California,” the report said.

Covered California’s Lee added:

The Graham-Cassidy plan takes resources away from California and from the majority of states, which means that far fewer Americans would have insurance or the existing protections from insurers. The effect on California would be devastating, and lead not only to there being more uninsured people than there were before the Affordable Care Act, but would also cause huge negative impacts on the health care delivery system, the economy and on those with employer-based coverage.

The Congressional Budget Office said Sept. 25 that, “The number of people with comprehensive health insurance that covers high-cost medical events would be reduced by millions compared with the baseline projections for each year during the decade.” It warned of “disruptions and other implementation problems” if the plan were enacted.

> Read the Covered California report on the Graham-Cassidy plan (PDF).

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