California could lose as much as $15 billion annually in federal funding if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the federal health reform law, the Los Angeles Times reports (Terhune et al., Los Angeles Times, 6/20).
Background on Supreme Court Case
The Supreme Court case centers on whether the federal government can require residents to purchase insurance and whether federal lawmakers have the power to pressure states to expand insurance coverage through Medicaid.
The court is expected to make a decision by the end of June (California Healthline, 6/18).
Potential Gains From Reform Law
California stands to be one of the biggest recipients of federal funding because of its large number of uninsured residents. According to the Times, the state has 7 million uninsured residents, making up nearly 20% of its population.
Under the reform law, California could receive as much as $9 billion annually to expand Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program. According to calculations from the Urban Institute, the state could receive an additional $6 billion annually for low- and middle-income residents who buy subsidized insurance through the state health insurance exchange.
In addition, California physicians could receive an additional $700 million annually in increased reimbursements under the law for treating patients who obtain coverage under the Medi-Cal expansion.
Comments on Implications of Supreme Court Decision
John Holahan, director of health policy at the Urban Institute, said, "California would be a net loser if the court overturns the law because it stands to receive such a big flow of money for the uninsured."
Gerald Kominiski -- director of the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research -- said, "It's really a bleak forecast for the future" if the Supreme Court overturns the law because "[t]he state returns to a system that's unsustainable."
Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) -- chair of the Senate health committee -- said, "Federal subsidies are key" to making health reform efforts work in California. He said the state on its own does not "have the resources to put together a robust health package" (Los Angeles Times, 6/20).