New Version of Tax Bill Would Wreak Havoc on California’s Health Care

California consumer and health advocates are urging our Congressional delegation to oppose the newly revised tax bill, with a focus on the eleven California Congressmembers that were the margin of victory in the passage of the previous House version. These eleven members now have the power to prevent health insurance premium and tax hikes from taking effect on their own constituents.
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For immediate release: Thursday, December 14, 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)

Anti-California Tax Plan Would Wreak Havoc on Health Care

Health Advocates Urge California’s GOP Congressmembers To Reject the Plan and Prevent Medicare and Medicaid Cuts, Tax and Premium Hikes for their Constituents

  • To Provide Massive Tax Breaks to Corporations and the Wealthy, Tax Bill Would Raise Taxes for Many in the Middle Class, Limiting Deductions on State and Local Taxes that Disproportionately Impact California Families
  • Tax Bill Would Blow $1.5 Trillion Hole in the Federal Budget, Forcing Immediate and Future Massive Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare
  • Proposal Repeals ACA Individual Mandate With No Replacement, Which Would Raise Health Premiums by Over 10% and Leave 1.7 Million More Uninsured Californians by 2027
  • California’s Delegation Will Make The Difference: The 11 CA Republican Congressmembers Who Voted For the House Version of the Tax Plan Were the Margin

SACRAMENTO, CA — California consumer and health advocates are urging our Congressional delegation to oppose the newly revised tax bill, with a focus on the eleven California Congressmembers that were the margin of victory in the passage of the previous House version. These eleven members now have the power to prevent health insurance premium and tax hikes from taking effect on their own constituents. This decidedly anti-California tax bill, one that double-taxes state and local taxes in a way that disproportionately impacts Californians, would wreak havoc on the state’s health care system, forcing immediate Medicare cuts and double-digit premium increases in the individual insurance market.

“In order to provide a tax break to the wealthy and corporations, the tax bill would raise taxes and health care premiums for many middle-income families, especially in California. This proposal would have profound impacts on the health care and coverage of millions of Californians, forcing major immediate cuts to Medicare, and massive cuts to Medi-Cal into the future. The proposed tax bill partially repeals the Affordable Care Act with no replacement, resulting in increased health insurance premiums and millions more uninsured Americans, with over 1.7 million just in California,” said Anthony Wright, executive director, Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition.

“Eleven members of the California Congressional delegation voted for the previous version of this tax scam, and provided the margin needed to move forward with this health care calamity. If California’s Congressional delegation unified in opposition, they could stop these cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the projected double-digit premium increases and the double-taxing of California families, or at least scale back the worst provisions,” continued Wright. “This bill raises many Californians’ taxes on the front end while forcing cuts to our key health services on the back end. 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–cuts that translate to devastating cuts of tens of billions of dollars a year to the California health system. The bill includes a devastating 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.”

Around 1.7 million Californians would lose coverage in 2027 if the individual mandate is repealed according the UC Berkeley Labor Center. 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 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. Medicaid, 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.

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