House Democrats pass healthcare bill, seeking contrast to Trump’s assault on Obamacare

“Make no mistake, a vote against this bill is to weaken the health and financial security of Americans during a pandemic,” said Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi before the vote.

The bill heads to the right of former Vice President Joe Biden’s healthcare platform, neglecting the Democratic candidate’s alleged support for a government-run insurance alternative. The bill does not include a major expansion of Medicare or Medicaid coverage, but was amended to allow Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children, to qualify for government-backed coverage. In a statement Monday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus complained that the bill does not go far enough, but praised House leaders for adding coverage for Dreamers.

“We support the significant improvements this legislation makes to strengthen the Affordable Care Act, but until we address speculation, exploitation and inefficiencies in our healthcare system that make healthcare unaffordable for dozens of Millions of Americans, our work is not finished, “wrote Co-Chairs Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.).

Only one Democrat voted against the bill.

The debate on the floor Monday replayed much of the typical partisan combat that has plagued Congress’ healthcare efforts for the past decade, although it came amid fresh pressure from a pandemic that is expected to leave millions more without health insurance. . And after Trump’s presentation to the Supreme Court in the Obamacare case, Republicans face new scrutiny for his lack of a replacement plan in case the law is repealed.

Republicans blamed Obamacare for “skyrocketing” health premiums, with House minority scourge Steve Scalise (R-La.) Framing Democrats legislation as a financial bailout and “bribe” to push people into law coverage.

“The bill provides $ 100 billion in bailouts for insurance companies at a time when insurers are not paying for elective procedures because of Covid,” said Oregon Representative Greg Walden, the leading Republican on the Energy Committee. and Chamber Commerce. “We all want premiums to be more affordable, but all signs indicate that insurers don’t need a bailout right now.”

Republicans also suggested that the bill’s drug pricing provisions, which have been circumvented as government controls, would discourage pharmaceutical companies from investing in Covid-19 vaccines.

Democrats believe that their defense of Obamacare, in particular the insurance protections of the law for people with pre-existing conditions, will once again increase their electoral prospects. The bill passed Monday also points to the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term health insurance plans, which often exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions. The bill also corrects long-criticized mistakes at Obamacare, such as the “family glitch” that blocks insurance subsidies to low-income families who cannot obtain coverage in the workplace.

Health care continues to lead the poll of voter concerns in shifting districts, according to the party’s House campaign arm. Democrats are defending 42 shifting districts and are trying to change 45 additional seats that Republicans currently have.

The pandemic and the resulting economic crisis are testing Obamacare’s role as a safety net in a health system based on employer-sponsored health insurance. It is still unclear how many people who have lost their jobs due to pandemic-related work stoppages have switched to Obamacare coverage.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have purchased health plans in the ACA markets in the past few months, less than analysts originally projected. Millions more are likely to be eligible for Medicaid, particularly in states that expanded their programs under the health care law. Trump has faced criticism from Democrats, as well as some moderate Republicans, for doing little to promote law enforcement options during the pandemic.

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