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CA Leaders Issue Dire Warnings if ACA is Struck Down

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California is leading a coalition of dozens of states in defending the Affordable Care Act at the U.S. Supreme Court next month. (MachineHeadz/iStockphoto)
California is leading a coalition of dozens of states in defending the Affordable Care Act at the U.S. Supreme Court next month. (MachineHeadz/iStockphoto)
 By Suzanne Potter - Producer, Contact
October 22, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Almost four million Californians gained health coverage when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expanded Medi-Cal, and that goes away if the Supreme Court strikes down the law without a replacement.

That's just one jaw-dropping warning at a hearing held Wednesday by the state Senate Committee on Health.

Deborah Reidy Kelch, an independent health policy consultant, said the Golden State would pay dearly if the court kills the ACA.

"The U.C. Berkeley Labor Center estimates that California could annually lose 27 billion and potentially 299,000 jobs if the ACA was struck down," Kelch outlined.

President Donald Trump said he will protect people with pre-existing conditions, but his Justice Department argues the entire law must go, now that Congress has repealed the individual mandate.

Melanie Fontes Rainer, special assistant attorney general, said in any case the rest of the law should remain in force even without a mandate that everyone buy coverage or pay a fine.

"This president, in his own words, wants to explode the ACA," Rainer asserted. "We don't think that health care should just be for those who are healthy or rich. And we've done everything in our power to fight his sabotage of the Affordable Care Act."

Without the ACA, insurance companies could once again kick young adults 18 to 26 off their parents' health plans.

They could reimpose annual and lifetime spending limits on coverage, and would no longer be required to cover mental-health or addiction services.

Before the ACA, people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or even pregnancy could be denied coverage or charged sky-high premiums.

State Sen. Dr. Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, said COVID would likely be considered a pre-existing condition going forward.

"The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that 19% to 50% have a pre-existing condition when it came to health-care coverage," Pan stated. "When we're talking about overturning the ACA, we're talking about something that could affect half of all Americans."

Trump Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has been critical of the ACA, is expected to be confirmed before opening statements begin on November 10.

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