Media Statement

California Hospitals Express Disappointment in House of Representatives’ Passage of AHCA
Legislation Will Undermine Medicaid Program, Many Californians May Lose Coverage

Passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the House of Representatives does not advance CHA’s long-standing goal to expand health care coverage to all Californians.  

California leads the nation in expanding health care coverage, with 91 percent of all Californians now covered.  If the current version of the AHCA is enacted, some of this gain could be undone, resulting in a loss of health care coverage for many Californians.   The plan calls for $880 billion to be cut from the Medicaid program nationwide – an amount that will undermine this vital program.  More than 14 million Californians – including children, seniors and low-income families -  are currently enrolled in Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid.  

The AHCA would increase the cost of coverage for Californians with pre-existing health conditions.  A last-minute amendment to the AHCA requires states to request a waiver from the federal government in order to obtain funding for high-risk pools that would support coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.  It is unknown whether California will seek such a waiver, however it is unlikely that sufficient federal funding will be available to provide affordable coverage for all individuals suffering from high-cost pre-existing conditions. 

California’s experience with high-risk pools has been unsuccessful, in part because they were underfunded.  A program launched in the early 1990s called the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (Mr. MIP) left many people without coverage or on long waiting lists.

CHA supports an optimally healthy society which includes coverage for all Californians.  The Association will continue to support this vision as the AHCA moves to the U.S. Senate.