The 2010 Affordable Care Act requires states to expand public health-care coverage for low-income residents, but state Republicans opposed measures on March 7 to add approximately 1.2 million Californians to the Medi-Cal rolls. Between both houses, only Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-SLO) crossed party lines to support the expansion, which would make state health care available to people who earn less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.
“Whether we agree with it or not, the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land,” Achadjian wrote in a statement accompanying his vote. “I could not in good conscience oppose expanding health-care coverage to more than one million hard working Californians.”
Expansion bills introduced by senate and assembly Democrats passed their respective houses despite Republican opposition. The bills will now cross in the air for a second vote before heading to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
An expanded Medi-Cal would use federal funding to supplant county-level programs providing temporary subsidized health care for low-income Californians, such as San Luis Obispo County’s Medical Services Program. However, the federal funding would begin to phase out three years after implementation.
State Republicans worry that the Affordable Care Act guarantees no long-term support for an expanded Medi-Cal.