How Would The American Healthcare Act Affect Californians?

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WESTWOOD ( — The Senate’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act could be voted on next week.

If passed into law, how would the American Healthcare Act affect Californians?

Fewer people covered, higher costs for the elderly and dramatic cuts for the working poor, according to Gerald Kominski, director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.

“There’s nothing in here that is good for the American people,” Kominski said.

Former President Barack Obama’s signature achievement, signed into law in 2010, seems to be working well in California, with plenty of insurers in the marketplace, many options for consumers and a lot of young and healthy people who have chosen to get health insurance.

Kominski said that more young and healthy people in the state would choose not to have health insurance since there would be no penalties if they choose to opt out under the proposed health care bill. That leaves sicker people on the insurance rolls, which would drive up the cost of premiums.

“Consumers beware. If you’re buying insurance through Covered California it is going to be more expensive and if you are on the MediCal program the future looks bleak,” said Kominski.

Carmen Balber is executive director of Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit in Santa Monica that keeps an eye on the health care industry in California. She said that the working poor will bear the brunt of the Republican health care proposal.

“The cut to Medicaid alone would be devastating in California,” Balber said. “Millions of people will lose coverage.”

Kominski said that instead of replacing Obamacare, Republicans and Democrats should get together and fix the current law.

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