SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The state Legislature has passed a major piece of the federal Affordable Care Act, opting to expand Medicaid to 1.4 million low-income Californians.
The voting in the Democratically controlled Assembly and Senate came as part of the final votes on the state budget for the coming fiscal year.
Democratic lawmakers called Saturday's vote historic. Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco said the expansion established that health care was a basic human right rather than a service available only for those who can afford it.
Republicans raised concerns about whether California can afford the expansion over the long run, especially once the federal government drops its commitment from 100 percent to 90 percent.
Republican Assemblyman Tim Donnelly said the potential for escalating costs to the state will shackle the actions of future legislators.