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Calif. Children's Advocates Brace for Possible Repeal of Obamacare

Even a partial repeal of the ACA in California could leave 4.9 million people uninsured, including many families with children. (Kourtlyn Lott)
Even a partial repeal of the ACA in California could leave 4.9 million people uninsured, including many families with children. (Kourtlyn Lott)
December 13, 2016

LOS ANGELES – Come January, the Republican-led Congress will have the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as "Obamacare," in its sights. A new report by the Urban Institute suggests repealing even portions of the law will leave 4.9 million Californians without health insurance. Over a ten-year period, the state could also lose more than $160 million in federal funding for health coverage.

Kelly Hardy senior managing director of health policy at the group, Children Now, said these are gains that would be sorely missed by families, including more than a half-million children who are now insured.

"More and more kids have been getting health coverage, and so what that means for parents is that you don't have to worry that you're one playground accident away from bankruptcy, because that is really what can happen if kids are uninsured," she explained.

Detractors of the ACA balk at this argument as a scare tactic, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that a partial repeal would allow for, as he put it, a "good transition period" for the millions of people who were able to get health coverage because of the plan.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, said there's a lot of misinformation about the ACA. For instance, it isn't true that it covers undocumented immigrants. Alker advises people to learn more, because changes may happen soon.

"Congressional leaders are moving very quickly to try to do this in January, as soon as they return from the holidays," she said. "So, people are not aware that this could happen so quickly and also, they're not aware of the consequences."

The Urban Institute report predicts those consequences include a major disruption in the insurance industry, and a much higher number of uninsured Americans than before the Affordable Care Act ever went into effect.

Logan Pollard, Public News Service - CA