Repeal and replace -- it has been the Republican rallying cry to find an alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Now, an alternative is on the table, and it has health experts in California concerned.
"The bill is a disaster for California and our health care system. It would mean millions of Californians losing coverage and millions more seeing higher premiums,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California.
Wright says under the proposed bill, people insured under Covered California would lose subsidies that help pay for their premiums, which means they'd pay more out of pocket.
"What this proposal does is reduce the financial help that people get, and by doing so it makes a smaller and sicker risk pool meaning rates will inevitably go up,” said Wright.
Among other changes, the bill would get rid of the mandate that requires everyone to have health care and instead offers tax credits to people who get coverage.
It also cuts the federally funded Medicaid expansion by 2020, which 4 million low-income Californians rely on.
Wright says Medicaid cuts means the state loses out on $8 billion for the MediCal program.
"The principles that we have as our guiding star are affordability. We want a system that's affordable for everybody,” said Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services from Washington D.C.
Republicans behind the bill, however, say the changes make more affordable coverage available to more people. They’re calling it a better alternative to Obamacare, which they say is an excess of government overreach.
"The goal of all of this is patient-centered health care, where patients, families and doctors are making medical decisions and not the federal government,” said Price.
Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip and Republican Congressman from Bakersfield, released the following statement on the new health care bill:
We didn’t create these problems, but we’re going to fix it. The legislation we will pass will stop the out of control growth in health care costs. It will create universal access to private insurance. It will get rid of federal mandates and taxes. We will put Medicaid on a fiscally sustainable path while protecting individuals who gained coverage through the Medicaid expansion. We will protect people with pre-existing conditions.