WASHINGTON — Seven California Democrats broke with the majority of their party and President Obama on Friday to support Republican-sponsored legislation that would allow insurance companies to continue to offer health plans next year even if they fail to meet the requirements of Obamacare.
"The president promised Americans that they could keep their health plans, and today I voted to keep that promise," said Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Oak Park), who voted for the measure, which passed 261-157.
Among California Democrats, the split was seven for the bill and 28 against.
Brownley was joined by fellow Democrats Ami Bera of Elk Grove, Scott Peters of San Diego, Jim Costa of Fresno, John Garamendi of Walnut Grove, Jerry McNerney of Stockton and Raul Ruiz of Palm Desert in supporting the measure.
Their support came after fellow California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of Beverly Hills, who helped write the 2010 healthcare law, spoke out against the GOP-written bill. Waxman warned it would "take away the core protection" of the Affordable Care Act and create a "shadow market of substandard healthcare plans."
But Ruiz, one of four California Democratic freshmen who supported the bill, said in a written statement that "one of the ways that we need to improve the Affordable Care Act is by making sure that people can keep their existing healthcare policies if they choose to do so."
Golden State Republicans, who have exhibited less party unity in recent months than the state’s Democrats, were united in their support of the measure, though John Campbell of Irvine did not vote.
"Republicans believe that we must try and help Americans who have been harmed by Obamacare,’’ House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield) said.
Democratic Reps. Xavier Becerra of Los Angeles, George Miller of Martinez, and Tony Cardenas of Los Angeles also did not vote.
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