Health Care

House Democrats unveil bill to expand ObamaCare ahead of Monday vote

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a bill to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as they seek to draw a contrast with Republicans on health care ahead of November’s elections.

The House will vote Monday on the measure, which includes Democratic priorities like expanding the health law’s subsidies to make premiums more affordable and increasing federal Medicaid funding to encourage the remaining states to expand Medicaid.

The measure attempts to steer clear of the Democratic debate over Medicare for All by avoiding any kind of public option, instead seeking smaller changes to ObamaCare.

Protecting the ACA was a key issue in Democrats taking back the House in 2018 and the party is again seeking to capitalize on the topic. A press conference to unveil the bill on Wednesday featured multiple freshman lawmakers facing competitive reelection races, including Reps. Colin Allred (Texas), Lauren Underwood (Ill.), Angie Craig (Minn.) and Andy Kim (N.J.). 

The measure is expected to go nowhere in the Senate, given Republican opposition to the ACA.

But the move is timed to coincide with a deadline on Thursday for the Trump administration to file its brief with the Supreme Court arguing for ObamaCare to be struck down, which Democrats highlighted as a “stupid” move in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was wrong any time, now it’s beyond stupid,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday. 

Kim added: “It is insane that in the middle of a pandemic our health care in our country is under attack.”

The measure would be paid for by including a provision to allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, part of major drug pricing legislation that House Democrats passed last year.

Republicans largely oppose that measure as well, arguing it would hinder pharmaceutical innovation.

Tags ACA Affordable Care Act Colin Allred Health care Insurance Lauren Underwood Nancy Pelosi ObamaCare

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