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Pete Stark, Congressman Who Reshaped Health Care, Dies At 88

Francis Chen
Congressman Pete Stark speaks at a Town Hall meeting in San Leandro, California on January 20th, 2008.


Former California Representative Pete Stark died on Friday at his home in Maryland. He was 88 years old.


During his 40-year career in Congress representing cities in the East Bay, Pete Stark’s legislative work helped reshape America's health care system. He was a key figure in crafting the Affordable Care Act, the signature legislation of the Obama Administration. He also created the law known as COBRA, which allows workers to stay on their employer's health insurance plan after they leave a job.

US Representative Ro Khanna shared his condolences on Twitter after Stark’s passing. He said, "Pete Stark was a giant. He opposed the Vietnam and Iraq wars. He was for single payer before it was popular. He was a friend and mentor and helped build the progressive movement, even when it was lonely."

Stark is survived by his wife, Deborah; their seven children; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.