Though Senate Republicans decided Tuesday to delay a vote on their controversial health plan until after the July 4 recess, Democrats in California are calling on residents to keep up their resistance to the plan.
Gov. Jerry Brown joined Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris for a call with reporters early Tuesday. Brown said the GOP bill's proposed Medicaid cuts, and its rollback of Obamacare's insurance regulations, would be disastrous for millions of Californians.
Feinstein said one in three Californians are covered by Medi-Cal. The loss of funding could put up to 14 million Californians at risk of losing health coverage or critical medical services, she said.
"One of the things we all try not to do is never turn the haves or the have-nots against each other ... and this bill does that," she said.
"This is a bad plan through and through and through, she added. "There aren’t one or two amendments that can fix it. So it’s got to be defeated.”
Brown condemned the Senate bill, saying it "will be the most divisive maneuver, cutting right into the heart of what is already a divided nation."
He noted it would cut billions of federal dollars from the Medi-Cal budget and that if California couldn't take care of low-income people, there would be ripple effects.
"There's no doubt this bill will exacerbate homelessness, crime," Brown said. "[The bill hurts] the kinds of people who really need help and are getting it under the Medi-Cal program."
The Senate is expected to reconvene on July 10, and the House or Representatives on July 11.
Congress needs to work on improving health care, not taking it away, said Feinstein, noting Democrats' strategy was "to defeat this [GOP bill] solidly."
"I've always believed there are a couple of things that maybe should be fixed in Obamacare, but the basic bill is a good bill. It has worked," she said.
In a statement late Tuesday, California Republican Rep. Ken Calvert said the Senate bill was like the House legislation that passed in May, aiming "to refocus Medicaid on the most vulnerable Americans, while not pulling the rug out from anyone who has benefited from the Medicaid expansion."
That contradicts the analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. That report said the number of people covered by Medicaid would decrease by 15 million over the next decade, and federal payments for Medicaid would be cut by $772 billion.
"In the long run, massive expansions of expensive government programs like Medicaid are simply not fiscally sustainable," Calvert said.