For immediate release: Thursday, November 16, 2017
For more information, contact:
Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, 916-870-4782 (cell)
Rachel Linn Gish, communications director, Health Access California, 916-532-2128 (cell)
Bill Would Also Hit California’s Health Care Hard
- To Provide Massive Tax Breaks to Corporations and the Wealthy, House Tax Bill Would Raise Taxes for Many in the Middle Class, Limiting or Eliminating Deductions on Mortgage Interest and State and Local Taxes that Disproportionately Impact California Families
- House Tax Bill Would Also Eliminate Medical Expenses Deduction–Used by Around 1 Million California Households With High Health Costs
- Bill Would Blow $1.5 Trillion Hole in the Federal Budget, Forcing Massive Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare
- Senate Version (Which Is Now Slated To Be Merged With the House Bill) Now Includes Repeal of ACA Individual Mandate With No Replacement, Which Would Raise Health Premiums by Over 10% and Leave 1.7 Million More Uninsured Californians by 2027
- While Majority of NY (5 of 9) and NJ (4 of 5) GOP Delegations Voted Against Tax Plan, There Were Only 3 of 14 CA GOP Defections
SACRAMENTO, CA–Today, eleven California Congressmembers voted on a decidedly anti-California tax bill, one that removes key middle-class deductions that disproportionately impact Californians. In order to provide a tax break to the wealthy and corporations, the tax bill would raise taxes for the sick and many middle-income families, and have profound impacts on the health care and coverage for millions of Californians, forcing cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other key programs. The House bill is now set to be merged with the Senate bill that is in many ways worse, totally eliminating state and local tax deductions, and now including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate that would raise health insurance premiums and lead to millions more uninsured Americans.
“Most California Congressmembers, including all Democrats and even three Republicans, correctly voted against this awful tax bill, recognizing that it raises many Californians’ taxes on the front end while forcing cuts to our key services on the back end. In order to pay for a giveaway to corporations and the wealthiest, this tax bill is decidedly anti-California, disproportionately raising taxes on many middle class families by limiting or eliminating key deductions from medical expenses to mortgage interest, including double-taxing state and local taxes,” said Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. “Those that voted for this tax bill, along with the health repeal bill earlier this year, have put their party before the people they vowed to serve.”
“This tax bill is actually another health repeal bill in disguise,” continued Wright. “It’s a triple hit to Californians’ care and coverage: the bill taxes the sick, forces massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, and the final product would likely raise premiums and leave millions more Americans uninsured.”
“The bill is bad for our health. It would remove many deductions that middle-class families depend on to remain healthy, including the medical expense deduction that is so crucial for patients with chronic conditions and seniors in nursing homes. The bill blows a $1.5 trillion hole in the federal budget, exactly the amount the Congressional leadership proposes to cut Medicaid and Medicare by. The Senate tax bill now includes a repeal of the Affordable Care Act individual mandate, which will lead to premiums spikes of 10% or more, and over 12 million Americans losing coverage. This so-called tax bill is actually a cut to the care and coverage we all rely on,” said Wright.
New numbers from the UC Berkeley Labor Center estimate that up to 1.7 million Californians would lose coverage in 2027 if the individual mandate is repealed and coverage losses in the state are proportionate to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) national estimates. This includes up to 780,000 fewer Californians in Medi-Cal, 730,000 fewer individuals in the individual market, and 230,000 fewer individuals in employer-sponsored insurance, compared to under current law. However, coverage losses in this state may be proportionally lower than the national losses if California continues its strong outreach and enrollment efforts and/or takes other steps to encourage enrollment in the absence of an individual mandate. These estimates assume California’s insurance losses are proportionate to CBO’s national coverage loss projections for each coverage type in 2027 using Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of California’s share of national non-elderly enrollment in Medicaid, individual market, and employer-sponsored insurance in 2016.
Part of this projected drop in coverage is driven by double-digit premium increases. As the individual mandate repeal leads some (mostly healthy) people not to enroll in coverage, the remaining insurance pool would be smaller and sicker, leading to premium increases of over 10%, as estimated by the CBO. That, in turn, will lead to more people dropping coverage.
Additional coverage losses of potentially millions more Californians are possible, given that current House and Senate proposals would create a $1.5 trillion hole in the federal budget, and likely force cuts to Medicare and especially Medicaid. This program, called Medi-Cal in California, covers 14 million residents–a third of the state, half of all children, and two-thirds of all nursing home residents. Such a cut is a magnitude twice the size of the ACA repeal proposals that House GOP members voted for just a few months ago. These cuts would force rollbacks in eligibility, benefits, and provider rates, or likely all three.