California has made big gains in the Affordable Care Act, enrolling more people that any other state. Many of them were carefully watching as the U.S. Senate failed to pass what's called the “skinny repeal.”
Now, experts and patient advocates are looking at what might come next for the five million people enrolled under Obamacare.
What was the Skinny Repeal, and what's next?
Skinny repeal was the last-ditch effort. It came after more aggressive repeal and replacement proposals such as the American Health Care Act and the Obamacare Repeal Reconciliation Act failed. But it won't be the last attempt. Health experts have called Repeal and Replace the “zombie bill” because it keeps dying and coming back. Patient advocacy groups in California are already bracing for the next fight.
But for now, people have all the same coverage and benefits they had before. We could see more changes come down the federal pipeline, but that won't be for a while.
What would the “skinny repeal” have meant for California?
Among other things, it would have removed the individual mandate for health insurance. A lot of experts say that would create a “death spiral” in the insurance market. Basically, the healthy people would choose to go uninsured, and already-high costs for sick patients would go up.
The majority of Californians are in support of Obamacare, but what are we hearing from politicians who are critics of it?
There has been some backlash against Obamacare plans because of high premiums, and a shortage of physicians. Some Republican lawmakers pushed for the house's American Health Care Act, which would have phased out the Medicaid expansion.
But on the whole, California has embraced Obamacare with more enthusiasm than most other states. We’ve enrolled about five million people in Medi-Cal and the Covered California exchange. For them, the national health care debate was personal.