LA TIMES: California Senate Democrats rip the Obamacare replacement plan, while GOP lawmakers say quit whining

March 13, 2017

By Melanie Mason

It has become almost a reflex in the California Legislature: When Republicans in Washington act, Democrats in Sacramento make some show of opposition.

On Monday, it was about healthcare, with Senate Democrats taking up a speedily crafted, non-binding resolution assailing the House GOP's plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.

The measure, which was decidedly pro-Obamacare in its tilt, called on Congress not to repeal the law unless its replacement would provide Americans at least the same level of coverage.

Democrats were armed with just-released numbers from the Congressional Budget Office that found that, under the proposal, 24 million fewer Americans would have insurance by 2026. Of that number, 14 million Americans could lose coverage by next year.

"Let that sink in," Senate leader Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles) said. "By next year, 14 million people will actually lose their healthcare."

Democrats pulled no punches in assailing the Republican plan. Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), noting that President Trump had promised no one would lose coverage, accused Trump and the Republican Congress of peddling "snake oil."

"A fraud is being perpetrated on the American people right now by this administration," Wiener said.

But while Democrats were quick to tout how the Affordable Care Act has increased coverage in California, Republicans said the law has hurt residents.

Sen. Jeff Stone (R-Temecula) said his "blue-collar, middle-class" constituents saw their "premiums rise, saw deductibles become catastrophic ... to the point where they can barely afford it."

Stone also bemoaned how the state Senate had an "obsession with doing everything they can to poke this president in the eye."

Other Republicans voiced similar weariness with the regular anti-Trump actions from ruling Democrats.

"We have marches, we have rallies, we have protests and now we have resolutions, but we're still not leading," said Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), adding that "it just seems like we're constantly whining."

Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), the author of the resolution, said it was appropriate for lawmakers to weigh in on federal action.

The healthcare debate is the "absolute most important thing we have to be discussing in this state and in this country," he said.

The resolution passed 25 to 9, with the vote divided along party lines.

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