Affordable Care Act Update and Analyses

Plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to be a focus for Republican Congressional members. Last week, United States Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that upon Congress returning on January 3, there would be efforts to move a resolution to repeal the ACA, noting that this would be the first item up in the new year. Congressional Republicans have said they will vote on repealing and replacing the ACA quickly, but may keep the provisions in place for up to four years.

Republicans continue to discuss the details of what a repeal and replacement of the ACA would consist of. Republican members of the United States House Committee on Ways and Means met on Capitol Hill this past Thursday to discuss plans to repeal of the ACA. While no specific details were offered, Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters that there would be an adequate transition period after the ACA is repealed. House Republicans are also focused on ensuring “universal access” to health care – meaning everyone can buy or find coverage if they choose – versus ensuring everyone has coverage.

While details are still outstanding, we do know that a repeal of the ACA would drastically impact people across the nation. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released state-by-state fact sheets on the impact of repealing the ACA without replacing it. In every state, tens of thousands of people would lose health coverage, including roughly 4.9 million people in California.

Yesterday, the UC Berkeley Labor Center issued a data brief looking at the number of Californians that received coverage either though Medi-Cal expansion or through subsidized plans through Covered California. Since the ACA, roughly 5 million individuals were enrolled in Medi-Cal. Of those, roughly 3.7 million adults became newly eligible for Medi-Cal through the expansion. The data brief also notes, roughly 1.2 million Californians have subsidized coverage through Covered California.

Despite plans to repeal the ACA, open enrollment is underway and in California, over 196,000 have signed up for coverage through Covered California.  The open enrollment deadline for California has been extended to midnight Monday, December 19 to begin coverage on January 1, 2017. This also aligns with the Federal deadlines.