Take Two®

News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Early analysis: The Senate health care bill and California

by Austin Cross and A Martínez | Take Two®

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Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell smiles as he leaves the chamber after announcing the release of the Republicans' healthcare bill which represents the party's long-awaited attempt to scuttle much of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 22, 2017. The measure represents the Senate GOP's effort to achieve a top tier priority for President Donald Trump and virtually all Republican members of Congress. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Senate Republicans unveiled their health care bill early Thursday. For many, it was their first look. Most of the bill was written behind closed doors. 

Take Two got an early look at what's in the bill with KPCC health care reporter Michelle Faust. 

Looking it over in the short amount of time you've had, what stands out to you?

It's allowing for states to apply for waivers to make many changes to insurance regulations. It's phasing out that expansion we had of Medicaid that added so many people to Medicaid rolls. (In California, Medicaid is called Medi-Cal.) One in three Californians is in that. The phase out is over three years and that would be completed by 2024, so there's a little bit of time for California to make a plan for that.

How does that affect us here? 

That expansion basically came to the states to pay for putting more people on the Medi-Cal rolls here in California. Now, how will California take care of that deficit? It's not clear yet. 

What are some ways that this bill could change Obamacare as we know it? 

It's going to make some major changes to Planned Parenthood in terms of funding.

It will also repeal all of the ACA taxes that went to funding some of the provisions in the ACA. The only change that it wouldn't make would be to that Cadillac tax — that's for the people who have the very best healthcare. Those would continue to be taxed the way that they are. 

There's been a lot of talk here in California about single-payer health care. If the Senate bill becomes law, does it make that route look more attractive?

We will see. Everyone involved in the single-payer movement here in California has said over and over again that California wants to go toward single payer because they can't count on what's going on on the federal level. 

For the most part, they like what's happening with Covered California, but if Covered California funding goes away, California would have to come up with a new way. Many people who support single payer say that would be the way to go. Governor Brown does not support it yet, however. It would have to pass, and the governor would have to sign it into law. 

Post-analysis note: California's single-payer health proposal might become harder to implement if this bill were to pass as-is. Cost projections for the single-payer plan that have been done do not factor in a cut to federal payments.

Press the blue play button above to hear the full interview. 

Answers have been edited for clarity and brevity.

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