On January 4, 2017, as California lawmakers, both new and old, make their way to the state Capitol building, healthcare is on the minds of many. The state could lose $20 billion – “That’s how much the state stands to lose in annual federal spending if Republicans repeal the Affordable Care Act,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
But there is hope for the lawmakers hoping to keep the Affordable Care Act (ACA) alive: “President Barack Obama told congressional Democrats Wednesday that their fight to preserve Obamacare is highly winnable – while in another part of the Capitol, Vice President-elect Mike Pence was giving Republicans a pep talk and a blueprint for repeal,” writes the Sacramento Bee.
On the same day as the opening of the legislature, the group has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder as “outside counsel to assist legal challenges posed by conflicts with the Trump Administration,” according to the Sacramento Bee.
In a joint statement by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the details behind the hiring are revealed: “We have an obligation to defend the people who elected us and the policies and diversity that make California an example of what truly makes our nation great. To accomplish that we will assemble the best and brightest in defense of our values and constitutional guarantees, and towards that end, the Legislature has retained the services of an expert legal team from the nationally-renowned Covington & Burling law firm, led by former United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.”
It remains to be seen if a “California-version” of the ACA will be pursued or whether fighting for continuation of the federal plan is feasible. To quote the above-referenced Los Angeles Times article again: “How the state attempts to maintain ACA-like coverage for the recently insured may be the greatest test for California’s newly sworn-in Legislature.”