Former California Rep. Fortney “Pete” Stark Jr., an influential Democrat whose legislative work helped reshape America’s healthcare system, has died. He was 88.
Stark’s family said he died Friday January 24 2019 at his home in Maryland.
Stark helped craft the Affordable Care Act, the signature policy change of the Obama administration. He also created the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, the 1986 law best known as COBRA, which allows workers to stay on their employer’s health insurance plan after they leave a job as long as they pay the full premium.
He also pushed for a law that requires hospitals that participate in Medicare or Medicaid to treat anyone seeking emergency treatment, regardless of their insurance status.
After serving 20 terms in office, Stark lost a bid for reelection to Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell in 2012 and retired.
Stark is survived by his wife, Deborah Roderick Stark, seven children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Representative from California; born in Milwaukee, Wis., November 11, 1931; B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., 1953; M.B.A., University of California, Berkeley, Calif., 1960; United States Air Force, 1955-1957; bank executive; alternate delegate, Democratic National Convention, 1972; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-third and to the nineteen succeeding Congresses (January 3, 1973-present); chair, Committee on the District of Columbia (One Hundred Third Congress).