Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget shows continued support for California's Medicaid program as talks of a repeal of the Affordable Care Act gain momentum.
He has proposed an $18.9 billion budget for Medi-Cal, the state's insurance program for low-income individuals. Brown allotted $1.6 billion from California's General Fund for the health program. In last year's budget, $888 million came from the General Fund.
Brown says repealing the ACA would be difficult and disruptive.
"I don't think that there's a politician in American history that could ever imagine taking away health insurance from 20 million Americans. That's a very bold, and I think a move that isn't very consistent with decency and or even with being a very smart political leader," he says.
Gov. Brown gave no specifics about what the state would do if Obamacare were repealed other than to say it would be painful for California residents.
Anthony Wright is executive director of Health Access California, a statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition. He says repealing Obamacare would lead to a $16 billion cut to Medi-Cal.
"An Affordable Care Act repeal would cause chaos to the health care system on which we all rely. There is no sort of California fix for a cut of this size," Wright says.
More than three million Californians are enrolled in Medi-Cal under the expansion provided through the ACA.
The budget increases enrollment of the Medi-Cal population to 4.1 million Californians.