It’s not a stretch to argue that California’s Republican congressional delegation pushed the House GOP health care bill over the top.
Unofficial counts before the vote showed half the state's delegation – including potentially vulnerable Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Modesto), David Valadao (R-Hanford), Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and Steve Knight (R-Lancaster) – either opposed or undecided. In the end, they all voted yes, and the bill passed by a single vote.
Orange County Rep. Mimi Walters’s support was never in doubt, even though Democrats hope to beat her next year in a district Hillary Clinton carried by nearly 18,000 votes. Walters (R-Irvine) told Capital Public Radio after the vote that the House GOP plan will help her constituents – particularly middle-class Californians.
“Anybody who has a pre-existing condition will still get coverage, and the premiums will not go up,“ she said, “because we’re going to be able to subsidize the premiums through the federal risk pools.”
(Click the play button above to listen to CapRadio's Ben Adler interview Rep. Walters.)
Opponents say the bill doesn’t put nearly enough funding into those high-risk pools, and premiums for unhealthy Americans will skyrocket. In a statement, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) said the vote “proves that cowardice must be a pre-existing condition.”
Democrats in Washington and Sacramento slammed the California GOP delegation and say Thursday's vote will cost half a dozen Republicans their seats in next year's midterms.