This post is part 6 of our 12-part “Protect Medi-Cal Funding” series. Medi-Cal provides a long-term investment that helps all Californians succeed. This blog series highlights the importance of Medi-Cal for populations experiencing health disparities
California’s Medicaid program, Medi-Cal, makes health coverage affordable for low-income people, including communities of color, residents of rural areas, and people with disabilities. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) cuts federal Medicaid spending by $834 billion over ten years and caps Medicaid funds to states. In addition, the recently released White House budget proposes to further cut federal Medicaid spending by an estimated $1.3 trillion over the next decade. These Medicaid funding cuts will shift costs to the state, and will harm especially those who need it the most in California.
Faced with these federal funding cuts, California may seek to:
- Make changes on the eligibility of certain populations that include people of color, individuals with disabilities, and residents of rural communities.
- Cut programs designed to meet demographic changes that are taking place.
- Reduce Medi-Cal coverage of services relied on by individuals with disabilities, since the state may lose $400 million in federal funding for in-home supportive services by 2020.
Medi-Cal coverage is critical for communities of color and people with disabilities because these populations are more likely to experience health conditions that require ongoing screening and services. Placing such financial burdens on populations who can least afford them will be absolutely devastating to these families. It means that these Medi-Cal enrollees will be forced to delay care or forgo it completely, leaving them at further risk. Funding caps and other cuts, moreover, would make it impossible for California to implement or continue initiatives that address the social determinants of health, or make strategic investments in preventive care and community health that save long-term costs.
See our Protect Medi-Cal Series, Issue Brief #6, for a “deeper dive” on the importance of Medi-Cal for communities experiencing health disparities, and how they are threatened by Medicaid funding cuts.