Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Health care advocates urge GOP congressmen to save Obamacare

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy represents a Bakersfield-area district that would lose the most health care coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy represents a Bakersfield-area district that would lose the most health care coverage if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

The Affordable Care Act may be on its last legs. Congressional Republicans have promised to dismantle the law as soon as President-elect Donald Trump takes office in January.

But despite fighting Obamacare for seven years, the GOP has yet to come up with an alternative. Their desire to repeal without a replacement could leave millions of Americans, who purchased insurance through exchanges established by the law or received coverage under an expansion of Medicaid services for the poor, without health care.

And that’s what advocates are leaning on as they try to save at least some components of the Affordable Care Act – particularly in California, where there are more than 5 million beneficiaries, more than any other state.

Ironically, it’s low-income, rural communities in the Central Valley, represented by Republicans who want to repeal Obamacare, that stand to lose the most. The greatest impact would be felt in House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s Bakersfield-area congressional district.

The Fight For Our Health Coalition, comprised of health care advocates, unions and community organizations, will rally outside of his district office at 10 a.m. with people who could lose their coverage, urging McCarthy to strengthen the Affordable Care Act instead. Another rally is planned for the same time outside the district office of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista.

WORTH REPEATING: “What a difference a day makes.” – Tom Scott, state executive director for the National Federation of Independent Business, saying small business owners’ optimism soared after Election Day

BY THE NUMBERS: Applications to the University of California for fall 2017 climbed to another record, according to preliminary data released Monday by the university. The number of high school seniors seeking admission to at least one of UC’s nine undergraduate campuses jumped 3 percent to 171,449. But after years of surging interest from international and out-of-state students, which ignited controversy as UC worked to close its budget gap with their supplemental fees, nonresident applications actually dipped about 2 percent from last year to 59,838.

UC also released its enrollment figures for fall 2016 on Monday. The undergraduate student body jumped by nearly 6 percent to 210,170, reflecting the first year of a political compromise in which UC will expand its California resident enrollment in return for increased state funding. The expansion was particularly good for two communities that remain underrepresented in the system: African-American students, whose numbers climbed by nearly 10 percent to 8,138, and Latinos, up by almost 11 percent to 49,475 and now the largest ethnic group at UC.

ROLL OUT THE DEAD CARPET: In 2010, California passed a law requiring companies that manufacture and sell carpet in the state to establish a program for increasing the amount of old carpet that is recycled, instead of winding up in a landfill. It has not been met with enthusiasm from the industry; in its last four annual evaluations by the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, the program has been found out of compliance with regulations. Now, CalRecycle staff are recommending that the agency reject program updates for 2017 proposed by manufacturers, including raising assessments passed on to consumers to 25 cents per square yard from 20 cents per square yard and cutting in half the amount of time that facilities processing recycled carpets have to apply for subsidies. Consumer and environmental groups have been raising alarm that the carpet industry is trying to undermine the recycling program. CalRecycle will vote on the proposal during its 10 a.m. meeting at the Cal/EPA building on I Street.

HOLIDAY TUNES: This is your last week to enjoy the annual holiday concert series in the Capitol rotunda. Today’s program features the Folsom Lake Youth Choir at 11 a.m., followed by the harp duo Mellodika at noon and harpist Alaina Rose at 1 p.m.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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