Capitol Alert

Dianne Feinstein says Republican health care bill is ‘immoral’

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., right, joined at left by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., listen as former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2017.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., right, joined at left by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., listen as former FBI director James Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2017. AP

Sen. Dianne Feinstein is in San Francisco today, where she’s holding a press conference to deliver a message on her home turf about her staunch opposition to Senate Republicans’ health care bill.

“At its most basic, the Republican health care bill guts Medicaid to pay for tax cuts for the richest five percent of Americans,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This is an immoral policy. The wealthiest country in the history of the world has an obligation to take care of its most vulnerable citizens.”

Under the GOP bill, the federal government would shift a large share of health care costs to states. In California, the cumulative increase from 2020 to 2027 would amount to $114.6 billion, according to a state analysis. It would institute a one-year freeze on federal payments for Planned Parenthood, severely restricting access to women’s health care and abortion services. Nationwide, the bill would strip 22 million Americans of health care coverage, according to a Congressional Budget Office report and cut spending on Medicaid, known as Medi-Cal in California, 35 percent by 2036.

Should the bill become law, “California will be faced with tens of billions of dollars in new costs that could necessitate difficult decisions to be made regarding the populations and benefits we choose to cover and how much we pay providers and plans for the services they provide,” Department of Health Care Services Director Jennifer Kent wrote in the analysis.

Supporters of the bill note that the CBO has found its huge tax cuts will reduce federal revenue by some $700 billion, but that savings from program cuts will still allow a federal deficit reduction of more than $300 billion over a decade.

Feinstein is expected to deliver comments at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children’s Hospital. She’s expected to focus on concerns over cuts to Medi-Cal.

“Ending Medicaid as we know it would break the bank in California by shifting an ever-increasing portion of health care costs from the federal government to the state,” she said in a statement. “We don’t know exactly how the state would deal with the added financial burden.”

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