In an unusually impassioned speech, Gov. Jerry Brown vowed Tuesday to protect California’s health care gains under Obamacare against Republican attempts in Washington, D.C., to roll them back.
“More than any other state, California has embraced the Affordable Care Act,” Brown told state legislators and appointees in his annual State of the State address at California’s Capitol. “I intend to join with other Governors and Senators, and with you, to do everything we can to protect the health care of our people.”
Brown said California would not “turn back” on advances it’s made in health coverage under pressure from the new Republican administration in Washington. Under the new federal leadership, he said, the “future is uncertain and dangers abound.”
Health coverage for Californians under the Affordable Care Act “has come with tens of billions of dollars from the federal government,” said Brown. “Were any of that were to be taken away, our state budget would be directly affected, possibly even devastated.”
Leveraging an estimated nearly $20 billion federal money, health coverage has been extended to five million Californians under Obamacare, which includes federally subsidized private health plans and an expansion of eligibility for Medicaid, the program for low-income people — known in this state as Medi-Cal.