By Jonah Most
New America Media
Two-and-a-half months before President Obama signed the landmark Affordable Care Act, California State Assemblyman John Pérez had already introduced legislation proposing to implement one of the bill’s central components. Health care advocates describe the move as a sign the state was ready to forge ahead with providing affordable health care to its residents.
While 26 states were busy challenging the ACA in state and federal courts, California has spent the last two years aggressively implementing—and taking advantage of—the legislation’s generous grants and subsidies.
The state has already secured hundreds of millions of federal dollars from the legislation, including over $39 million for establishing a statewide health care exchange – a virtual marketplace where people can buy affordable health insurance. And legislators expect to receive around $15 billion annually to expand coverage to many of the nearly 20 percent of California residents who currently lack coverage.