Congress to Californians: Don’t Get Sick

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) evaluation is out for Trumpcare, the healthcare bill passed by the House of Representatives this month to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The score isn’t good for Californians or Local 21 members.

The effects of this legislation on vulnerable populations and local governments will be nothing short of catastrophic. If it passes the Senate, we can expect widespread budget cuts to programs across the board. Local governments will try to make up for the healthcare gap to cover the sickest and neediest among us, and they will need to take those funds from other programs. That will mean that those depending on a wide range of services will see cuts, and Local 21 jobs could be on the line even in non-healthcare related departments.

Here are some highlights of the new CBO evaluation and research on how that will affect California:

  • 23 million fewer people would be uninsured as compared with coverage under the ACA. The CBO states that those losing coverage “would be disproportionately larger among older people with lower income — particularly people between 50 and 64 years old with income of less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.”

  • Federal spending for Medicaid (Medi-Cal in CA) would be reduced by $834 billionover 2017-2026.

  • Trumpcare would shift almost $6 billion in Medicaid/Medi-Cal costs to California in 2020, rising to an annual cost-shift of $24.3 billion by 2027, according tothe CA Department of Health Care Services.

  • Medi-Cal coverage and benefits would be threatened for nearly 10 million Californians— including children, people with disabilities, and adults age 65 or older. It would also put at risk the 4 million Californians who are covered by the Med-Cal expansion.

  • California would not be able to absorb these costs and could be faced with repealing the Medi-Cal expansion program, which would “eliminate the only viable source of health coverage for nearly 4 million nonelderly adults, who live in every Congressional district in the state (see table).

  • These cuts would disproportionately harm women.  “Women and girls comprise more than half of Medi-Cal enrollees (54 percentas of December 2016), and women “are much more likely to use Medicaid’s long-term services and supports as they age,” the CBPP notes. Medi-Cal also plays a significant role in women’s health by financing roughly half of all births in California (50.4 percentas recently as 2011).”

  • The cuts would harm military veteransbecause Medicaid is a major source of health coverage for veterans.

  • Trumpcare would increase total health costs by an average of $2,800 in 2020 for people who buy coverage through Covered California, the state’s health insurance marketplace, according tothe CBPP.

Check out more facts here.

Union workers must fight against this bill passing the Senate and becoming law. The current rumor is that a vote will take place in July, which gives us a short period of time to fight back. We can do that by making sure our Senators stay strong in their opposition to Trumpcare, but our biggest contribution could be volunteering to call voters in other states to encourage them to speak up to their Representatives. Trumpcare is incredibly unpopular in polls, which means that elected leaders who are voting for the bill are hoping that voters won’t hold them accountable. It’s up to us to make sure they know that will NOT be the case!

There are phone banks most Wednesday nights through July in San Francisco, as well as a Call for Change night in San Jose at the Labor Council.

Let’s make sure we have put our all into fighting to keep our healthcare and our local government budgets in tact.