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As the most populous state with the largest economy in the country, California stands to be dramatically affected by changes to the nation’s health law.
About 1.5 million people buy health insurance through the state’s exchange, Covered California, and most get federal subsidies. About 4 million receive Medicaid (called Medi-Cal here) through the program’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act. Altogether, Medi-Cal covers 14 million people in the state, roughly a third of its population.
The current House bill proposes to significantly change how — and how much — the federal government pays for these programs.
A Congressional Budget Office analysis released Monday found that, if passed, the bill could leave 24 million people uninsured by 2026, while saving the federal government $337 billion. Some Republican leaders contested those estimates, although House Speaker Paul Ryan said he was encouraged by the potential drop in costs.
That likely would translate into millions of people in California losing coverage or seeing their costs rise. Medi-Cal might have to cut programs and eligibility.
On Tuesday, California health care reporter Stephanie O’Neill discussed the potential effects of the bill on California residents with NPR “Morning Edition” host Rachel Martin.