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Health

Perez: Repealing Health Law Would Hurt Kern County Budget, Hospital

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Kern Medical
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Kern County
Kern Medical (file photo)

The California State Senate’s health committee held a rare hearing in Bakersfield this afternoon discussing the local impact of President Elect Trump’s quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez testified that while Kern Medical has seen its financial health improve in recent years, that could change quickly if the law is rolled back.

Perez: “The county contracts with the hospital to fulfill our state mandate to serve the indigent so these cost would climb quickly to pre-ACA levels. This $45 plus million cost would be met chiefly by the county’s general fund which is still ultimately responsible for the hospital’s financial welfare.”

She credited the ACA’s expansion of coverage under Medi-Cal for reducing share of indigent patients at Kern Medical from 23 percent to 8 percent. Perez says 95,000 county residents enrolled in Medi-Cal as a result of the program's expanded scope under the law, and 17,000 others bought coverage through Covered California. 

Perez also claimed the county could stand to lose $15 million in mental health funding that it currently gets through the law. 

While the hearing was underway, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy released an op-ed in the Sacramento Bee, challenging critics who say the repeal would hurt residents of his district. McCarthy called the law flawed, though he didn’t offer specifics about replacement plans.

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