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Low-Income, Older Californians Would Be Hit Hardest By Obamacare Repeal Plan

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, standing with Energy and Commerce Co...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., center, standing with Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., right, and House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., left, speaks during a news conference on the American Health Care Act on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

Older and low-income Californians would feel the pain under the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare.

The GOP plan to replace the Affordable Care Act could cause major disruptions in California.

That's because it changes the way tax subsidies are calculated.

Under Obamacare, tax credits are based on income and the cost of premiums. But under the Republican plan, tax credits would be based on age.

That could make a big difference.

Under the Republican proposal, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a 60-year-old in San Diego who makes $40,000 a year would get a $4,000 tax credit to help them buy health insurance.

That’s 22 percent less financial help than they’d get under Obamacare. The gap is even more pronounced in higher-cost areas of California.

Carmen Balber, executive director of the Santa Monica-based nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, said a lot of people will feel the pain.

“What we can anticipate is prices going up for older, and lower-income Americans. And subsequently, more and more of them dropping coverage because they can’t afford it," she said.

In addition, the GOP plan would cut federal funds for the Medi-Cal program starting in 2020.

California has added 4 million people to the Medi-Cal program since Obamacare kicked in, Balber said.

“There’s very little the state could do, aside from raising new revenues, to keep the expansion where it’s at, or where it will be in 2020, if that change takes effect," she explained.

Republicans in the House said their plan will dramatically reduce the deficit and give consumers more choices.

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