California to Explore ‘All Options’ as Health Mandate Repeal Looms

Congressional Republicans appear to be moving ahead in repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, prompting debate among California health care experts on how the state could continue encouraging residents to buy health insurance — including imposing a state-level requirement to purchase coverage.

The elimination of the individual mandate, which requires people to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty, is included in the GOP tax bill that is expected to reach President Trump’s desk by Christmas. Repealing the mandate is projected to lead to 1.7 million fewer Californians with health insurance over the next decade, with experts predicting that some young, healthy people may choose to drop coverage if it is not required. Under the Affordable Care Act, California has lowered its uninsured rate to a record 7 percent.

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