Washington January 18, 2017 – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement in opposition to the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, highlighting repeal’s effects on California:
“Over the weekend, thousands of people rallied in San Francisco and Los Angeles to show their support for the Affordable Care Act. Their message was clear: Repealing the law would have a devastating effect on millions of lives.
“One in eight Californians are covered under the Affordable Care Act. So repeal would immediately harm nearly 5 million Californians, 3.7 million of whom would lose Medi-Cal coverage and an additional 1.2 million of whom would lose the federal subsidies that help them afford insurance.
“The effects would be widespread. Millions of Californians would delay getting care. This would not only hurt patients, it would reduce the demand for services—which would mean fewer health care providers employed—and shift hospital resources from salaries to compensating for uninsured patients.
“U.C. Berkeley estimates the effect of reduced demand and increased cost for uncompensated care would result in the loss of more than 200,000 jobs in California.
“Repeal of the Affordable Care Act would also mean the loss of $20.5 billion in federal Medicaid and subsidy funding for Californians. Governor Brown has already projected a $1 billion deficit next year, so covering such a big shortfall would be next to impossible.
“Repeal would also harm those who benefit from the law’s consumer protections. These include protections related to pre-existing conditions and annual and lifetime limits on care, as well as parents’ coverage being expanded to children up to age 26.
“The bottom line is this: We should come together to make this law stronger, not repeal it in a fit of political revenge. The growth of health care costs has slowed under the Affordable Care Act, and California in particular has seen smaller premium increases than other states.
“Some changes we should look at include increasing access to tax credits, strengthening rate review at the federal level, addressing prescription drug price gouging and helping to stabilize the market and expand the risk pool.
“I entered public service to help people and solve problems. I hope that my Republican colleagues realize that acting on six years of political rhetoric would inflict tremendous pain on tens of millions of Americans and undo all the progress we’ve made toward fixing what was a broken health care system.”