Last week, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act, which would cut Medicaid considerably and allow insurance companies to charge people with preexisting conditions significantly more for coverage.
Some estimate that Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in California, will experience $800 billion in cuts over 10 years if this bill is enacted. Since children make up the proportion of Medicaid enrollees, it’s likely they will bear the brunt of these cuts.
Medi-Cal is a critical support for young children and their families in California. Half of the state’s children, about 5.8 million children, receive health care from Medi-Cal, and one in four Contra Costa residents receive these benefits.
California was one of 32 states that expanded the number of people eligible for Medicaid when the ACA (Obamacare) was passed. This enabled more people to get health insurance, and resulted in record low numbers of uninsured residents in the state, including just 3% of the state’s children.
The AHCA would phase out the Medicaid expansion and cap the amount of funding states receive for the program. This means states will receive the same amount of funding regardless of need. To make up the difference, states likely will reduce eligibility and benefits.
If the bill passes the Senate and is signed into law by President Trump, it will threaten guaranteed access to quality health care for over 35 million children. Furthermore, because of the new limitations on preexisting conditions, children with chronic conditions like asthma or diabetes or a premature baby could jeopardize a family’s financial security.
First 5 Contra Costa is dedicated to ensuring that all of our county’s children have access to needed health care and preventive services. The AHCA is likely to change over the next several weeks in the Senate. We’ll be keeping an eye on it. In the meantime, here’s some more information about the bill:
- American Academy of Pediatrics statement opposing the AHCA.
- Fact sheet from Health Access on the AHCA.
- Summary of the AHCA from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
- Sacramento Bee article on what the AHCA could mean for California.
- Ten major changes to Medicaid in the bill, and how they impact in California.