Los Angeles Times: 7.5 million Californians could lose coverage under latest Obamacare repeal effort, state health insurance exchange says

By Melanie Mason

Californians who get their health coverage on the individual market could face dire consequences under the current Republican effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, warned a new analysis released Monday by Covered California, the state’s health insurance exchange.

Under the latest plan, which is being led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), 7.5 million Californians could lose their health insurance by 2027, the analysis said. It also said the repeal could trigger a collapse of the state’s individual insurance market.

“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,” said Peter V. Lee, executive director of Covered California, in a statement.

“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,” Lee said.

The report comes on the heels of another grim analysis by Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration, which estimated that the Senate proposal would strip California of nearly $139 billion in federal funds from 2020 to 2027.

The Covered California report looked at two different scenarios for how state officials could respond to such a slash in federal dollars. If the state chose to prioritize protecting Medi-Cal, which provides coverage for low-income Californians, the analysis projects the collapse of the individual insurance market by 2021.

If officials chose to direct attention to the individual market by stepping in to cover subsidies now paid for by the federal government, that could lead to large reductions in the Medi-Cal program.

In both scenarios, the result would be up to 7.5 million fewer Californians with health insurance, according to the report.

“Proponents claim Graham-Cassidy gives states flexibility and choice, but in reality it puts states into a lose-lose situation,” Lee said. “Under this plan, California and states across the nation would be forced to either turn their backs on their most needy residents, or let the individual market be destroyed. Either way, millions lose coverage.”