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Calif. Children's Advocates Push Back on ACA Repeal

Even a partial repeal of the ACA in California could leave 4.9 million people uninsured, including many families with children. (David D.)
Even a partial repeal of the ACA in California could leave 4.9 million people uninsured, including many families with children. (David D.)
January 10, 2017

LOS ANGELES – Today, children's advocates are petitioning members of Congress from California, asking them to look at the possible fallout from ending "Obamacare."

The group, Children Now, along with nearly 700 other organizations, contacted state lawmakers in Sacramento in December, urging them to protect the program in California. Now, they're making the same appeal to Congress.

Mike Odeh, director of health policy for Children Now, says kids are particularly at risk when they, or their parents, don't have health coverage, and the state needs to be prepared for whatever happens.

"It's important that any changes are done intentionally and responsibly," he said. "Over 60 percent of California kids rely on MediCal and Covered California for their coverage, so any changes that happen could have a ripple effect throughout the entire system."

Odeh says their ultimate message is that healthy children become more productive adults, with studies showing them more likely to graduate, go to college and even earn more money. Last week, Republicans introduced a budget resolution that includes instructions for repealing major parts of the Affordable Care Act.

Edwin Park, vice president for health policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, says the major concern is that there's little in place to replace the embattled healthcare program, which might throw the healthcare and insurance industries into turmoil if the repeal is sudden.

"The most critical aspect is that there is no replacement plan, that replacement would happen at some subsequent point, assuming there even is a replacement plan," he explained.

report by the Urban Institute suggests repealing even portions of the law will leave almost five million Californians without health insurance. Over a ten-year period, it says the state could also lose more than $160 million in federal funding for health coverage.

Logan Pollard, Public News Service - CA