The GOP healthcare plan will devastate Los Angeles – Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Senate bill to “repeal and replace” Obamacare would slash Medicaid, the nation’s health insurance program for the poor. In so doing, it would devastate Los Angeles in ways that may not yet be fully appreciated. One in 20 of the nation’s Medicaid recipients lives in L.A. County and relies on the program for their healthcare. About 4 million strong, they make up about 40% of the county’s population. Many would be at grave risk of losing their health coverage, and consequently all but emergency medical treatment, under the Republicans’ program. Current programs to provide housing and treatment to thousands of people living on the streets, or heading there after their discharge from hospitals or release from jails and prisons, would be seriously curtailed.

Los Angeles County has more people on Medicaid than 45 states do. It has about as many people on Medicaid as the entire population of Kentucky, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s home state.

Why are so many L.A. residents on Medi-Cal (California’s name for its Medicaid programs)? Two primary reasons.

First, despite its pockets of fabulous wealth, the region is also beset with intense poverty. The poor never had it easy, but at least in the past they had a fighting chance to make ends meet in Los Angeles, where manufacturing and low-skill jobs were plentiful and the cost of living — rent, food, transportation — was relatively low. But now far fewer jobs pay enough to meet the skyrocketing cost of getting by. Millions of people who once could save up enough money for annual medical check-ups for every member of the family, plus the occasional doctor visit to deal with broken bones or serious illness, now need assistance to stay healthy and, by the way, to keep sickness sufficiently under control so that it does not turn into an epidemic and does not sap the workforce, poorly paid though much of it may be.

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