McCarthy weighs in on ACHA impact

By REBECCA NEIPP

News Review Staff Writer

During a question-and-answer session of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s visit with China Lake Alliance last week, he fielded questions relating to concerns ranging from base realignment and closure (see related story, this page) to healthcare reform.

Before the American Health Care Act was pulled from the scheduled congressional vote last month, several concerns arose from local quarters relating to whether the act would reduce access for local residents.

One meeting attendee asked if the congressman was concerned about potentially negative impacts to his district.

“Very much so,” said McCarthy. “If you look at the expansion of Medicaid, it’s going to cost us $1 trillion in 10 years. Is that viable? No.

“If I didn’t care for my district, I would do nothing. I can ignore the problem as a politician, think that maybe I won’t be around in 10 years and it will be someone else’s problem.”

Right now, he said, it costs more money to purchase the most basic ACA package than it did for a high-risk plan before the reform was adopted.

“The exchanges are collapsing. Premiums have gone up, as have deductibles,” he said. “More people now pay the penalty or take an exemption than signed up for it. If that’s the case, it’s not a very good plan.”

He said that he assembled a panel of 18 governors, asked for their inputand learned is that people wanted more choice and more flexibility.

“Obamacare is going to be a detriment if it continues on. And the longer it goes, the fewer options we have to address that.”

In regards to the low score from the Congressional Budget Office, he said that was because the office did not take second and third phases of the plan into consideration.

He also noted that the proposal he supports included an allocation of $100 billion for states to “be creative” in implementing solutions.

To many local skeptics of the AHCA, this was the most concerning issue.

Because California reimburses healthcare institutions only pennies on the dollar for services, many rural facilities would not be able to afford to serve the most vulnerable population.

A recent legislative provision used federal funding to close the gap, but that would not be available under the proposed reforms.

McCarthy indicated that a new plan, with some modifications, would probably be reintroduced sometime in the future.

Story First Published: 2017-04-14