California approved a major part of the federal Affordable Care Act on Saturday by expanding Medicaid to another 1.4 million of the state's poor as the deadline loomed for the state budget.

The Medicaid expansion came one day after lawmakers voted to approve the main budget bill of $96.3 billion for the fiscal year beginning in July. Ecstatic Democrats in Sacramento called the state's vote historic.

"We don't know for certain that this will contain the costs; that's certainly the goal," Sen. Mark Leno, a Democrat from San Francisco, told reporters. But the action will "make sure that health care is not considered a privilege of the fortunate few, but as a basic human right. That's what we're implementing today. This is a big deal."

However, Republican lawmakers were less willing to put aside talk about costs, emphasizing that California's cost-share in the federal-state partnership would soon rise. "I worry about expectations that we set out for individuals with [the Affordable Care Act] in California and having the rug pulled out from underneath us without a funding mechanism," Sen. Ted Gaines, a Republican from Rocklin, said. "Can we as a state handle that financial burden? I'm very concerned about this."

Democrats allowed a provision in the legislation that permits future legislators to reconsider the health care funding if the federal government's contribution drops below 70 percent.

Regardless of future federal outlays for the Medicaid partnership, supporters of the bill said the expansion would save lives and maintain a healthy workforce, as billions in funding flowed from Washington to Sacramento, to be dispersed throughout the state.

President pro tem of the Senate, Darrell Steinberg, a Democrat from Sacramento, said the health care of uninsured Californians is already funded by the taxpayer, given that many uninsured people access emergency rooms and clinics which are uncompensated for their costs.