The House voted Thursday to overturn one of ’s key ObamaCare moves, advancing a bill that Democrats have framed as protecting people with pre-existing conditions.
Passed in a largely party-line vote of 230-183, the bill seeks to overturn guidance the Trump administration released last year expanding a program that allows states to innovate and waive certain ObamaCare rules.
Republicans argued that Democrats were simply trying to score political points with a bill that did not actually add new protections for people with preexisting conditions. Democrats, meanwhile, said that the legislation was needed to fight Trump’s efforts to weaken the health law’s current protections for those with preexisting conditions.
Four Republicans voted with Democrats for the bill, including Reps. (N.Y) and (Pa.), who face potentially tough reelection races next year, and Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) and (N.J.).
Democrats have put forward a range of bills they frame as protecting people with preexisting conditions, looking to hammer Republicans on an issue that helped Democrats win back the House last year.
Democrats say the move announced by the Trump administration last year allows states to cast aside important protections under ObamaCare.
For example, the new guidance would allow ObamaCare subsidies to be used to buy cheaper plans, which Democrats deride as “junk” plans, that do not have to cover preexisting conditions.
“This legislation should not be necessary, but unfortunately the Trump Administration continues to take actions that undermine the health care of millions of Americans, including the more than 133 million people with pre-existing conditions,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman (D-N.J.).
Republicans, though, said the Trump administration’s action was simply giving states more flexibility.
“They claim their agenda is ‘for the people,’” said Rep. (Ore.), the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee. “Well, this bill is ‘for the politics.’”
“Let me be very clear: This bill has nothing to do with protecting Americans with preexisting conditions,” he added. “This bill has everything to do with eliminating health care options and choices for states.”
The bill is not expected to go anywhere in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The House will vote on additional health care legislation next week that includes measures to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of cheaper, skimpier insurance plans and to provide funding for enrollment outreach efforts that Trump slashed.