Millions in California Would Likely Lose Health Care Coverage Under GOP Obamacare Replacement, Experts Say

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Millions of Californians probably would lose health coverage under the Obamacare replacement bill released by House Republicans this week, experts say.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, center, holds up a copy of the American Health Care Act during a news conference with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, left, and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, right, outside Ryan’s office in the U.S. Capitol March 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The long-awaited GOP alternative removes the requirement that all Americans sign up for health insurance or pay a penalty, alters the amount of financial assistance offered for plans sold on the marketplaces and bans federal funding for Planned Parenthood. But what probably would affect the greatest number of Californians and raise the toughest questions for the state are proposed cuts to Medicaid, which covers more than a third of California’s residents.

“The pressure will be on the state Legislature to decide whether to let a lot of poor people suffer,” said Lowell Brown, a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in advising healthcare providers. “This plan passes the buck from the feds to the state.”

The Affordable Care Act offered states money to allow more people into their Medicaid programs, which are jointly funded by federal and state governments. California, one of 31 states that took the deal, currently receives more than $15 billion annually in federal dollars to fund the expansion, according to the state Legislative Analyst’s Office.

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