AILSA CHANG, HOST:
The Senate is taking one more stab at repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans say they’ll vote on what’s known as the Graham-Cassidy bill next week. Among other things, it would dramatically redistribute federal funds to states. And generally, states that expanded Medicaid stand to lose billions of dollars. The rest would see a short-term influx of funds. We’re going to hear from one of those states, Texas, in a minute. First, from KQED in San Francisco, April Dembosky explains why California would be one of the hardest hit states.
APRIL DEMBOSKY, BYLINE: The new Graham-Cassidy legislation would take money from states that have invested heavily in the Affordable Care Act, then redistribute it to other states that haven’t. Aviva Aron-Dine is with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
AVIVA ARON-DINE: For a state like California or a Massachusetts or a New York, exactly the states that might be most motivated to at least try to preserve the ACA coverage gains – those are the states that would face the deepest cuts to their federal resources.
DEMBOSKY: The bill’s authors say their plan gives states more flexibility to build their own health systems. But California would lose 35 percent of its funding by 2026. That means millions of people with Medicaid and exchange plans would lose their insurance. A lot of those people are entrepreneurs and their employees. The head of the Small Business Majority in California, Mark Herbert, says the health funding cuts are bad for the economy, too.
MARK HERBERT: It would be massively destabilizing to the ability of small employers to attract talent. It would be very difficult for entrepreneurs and self-employed folks to access some level of coverage.
DEMBOSKY: Under the Affordable Care Act in California, a million and a half small business owners and employees got health coverage, and the state’s overall uninsured rate dropped by more than half. For NPR News, I’m April Dembosky in San Francisco.
ASHLEY LOPEZ, BYLINE: I’m Ashley Lopez in Austin.
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