SoCal activists rally against new health care proposal

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As Senate Republican leaders announced a delay on voting for their health care bill, local activists rallied to voice their concerns about its impact in Southern California. (KABC)

As Senate Republican leaders announced a delay on voting for their health care bill, local activists rallied to voice their concerns about its impact in Southern California.

If the bill passes, experts estimate 1.2 million people in Los Angeles County will lose coverage.

One of the protesters outside the Hall of Administration today was 27-year-old Steven Martin, who was diagnosed with leukemia just days after he bought insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Now he is worried he won't be covered for his life-saving medicine

"I am absolutely terrified," he said. "Luckily I had it (ACA) because it saved my life."

Four of the five members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors spoke about the toll the Senate bill would have in the county, where one out of 20 residents receive Medicaid, known in California as Medi-Cal.

"So I've got a slogan for Republicans to wear on their baseball caps," LA County Supervisor Sheila Keuhl said. "Make America Sick Again."

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis said the new plan will also hurt the local economy.

"If it is repealed, it will impact the county of Los Angeles to the tune of $900 million," she said.

Experts said the plan would reverse the expansion of Medicaid, eliminate the mandate that all Americans must be insured, alter subsidies provided to people with private insurance and undo taxes on high-income earners used to fund the ACA.

"It turns health care into wealth care," said LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn.

Republicans counter that insurers are already backing out of exchange markets, premiums are rising and too many burdens are placed on businesses.

Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech Tuesday at a business conference that he was confident a health care plan would be in place by the end of the summer.

But Solis said she worries about the plan's financial impact.

"You will see more of our people in emergency units and a higher cost that the county is going to have to pay," Solis said.

Besides hospital emergency rooms, non-profit community clinics could also take a hit.

Before the ACA, about a quarter of patients were on Medicaid, and today close to 60 percent of community clinic patients rely on it.

"There needs to be a change of mind in D.C.," said Louise McCarthy, president and CEO of the Community Clinic Association of LA County. "Don't tear it apart. Repair it."

Martin said health care is more than a political debate: It is about saving lives.

"If I didn't have it, I don't know what I would've done," he said.


Related Topics:
healthhealthhealth careaffordable care actdonald trumpPresident Donald TrumppoliticsrepublicansinsuranceLos AngelesLos Angeles County
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