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Senate blocks effort to roll back Trump administration's ObamaCare rule

The Senate on Wednesday rejected a Democratic effort to roll back a Trump administration rule that allows states to ignore parts of ObamaCare.

Senators voted 43-52 on the resolution, falling short of the simple majority needed to pass the chamber.

Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsBipartisan, bicameral group unveils 8 billion coronavirus proposal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms Biden budget pick sparks battle with GOP Senate MORE (R-Maine) was the only Republican to vote for the resolution.

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Democrats wanted to overturn a Trump administration rule that makes it easier for states to opt out of certain ObamaCare requirements and prioritize cheaper, less-inclusive plans than ones offered under ObamaCare.

Members of the party have termed the plans “junk insurance” because companies can refuse to cover people with pre-existing conditions. 

“These are nothing but a boon to health insurance companies. For nearly three years Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration have sabotaged Americans’ health care,” Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell: COVID-19 relief will be added to omnibus spending package Overnight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden MORE (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the vote.

Democrats view health care legislation as a political vulnerability for Republicans after many voted for an unsuccessful attempt to repeal ObamaCare in 2017.

Democrats made protecting health care coverage a key part of their strategy to win back the House in 2018. They also view Wednesday’s vote as an opportunity to squeeze GOP senators in key 2020 Senate races including Collins, Cory GardnerCory GardnerMark Kelly to be sworn in as senator on Wednesday Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software Senate passes bill to secure internet-connected devices against cyber vulnerabilities MORE (Colo.) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallySen.-elect Mark Kelly visits John McCain's grave ahead of swearing-in Video shows Arizona governor ignoring 'Hail to the Chief' call while certifying Biden victory The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - GOP angst in Georgia; confirmation fight looms MORE (Ariz.).

“Senate Republicans never miss an opportunity to do exactly the wrong thing for their constituents on health care, and this vote will be no exception,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Stewart Boss said in a statement.

Democrats are able to force a vote on the Trump administration guidance under the Congressional Review Act. However, they face a steep climb to picking up four GOP senators needed for the resolution to pass after a similar healthcare vote failed last year largely along party lines.

Republicans and the Trump administration have repeatedly said they will continue to protect people with preexisting conditions, while simultaneously advocating for ways to end ObamaCare.

A federal circuit court in New Orleans is expected to rule in the coming days or weeks on an administration-backed lawsuit to overturn the entire health care law.

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPressure builds for coronavirus relief with no clear path to deal Top GOP senator warns government funding deal unlikely this week Criminal justice groups offer support for Durbin amid fight for Judiciary spot MORE (R-Ky.) knocked Democrats on Wednesday, arguing they were playing politics.

“Democrats' resolution has zero chance of becoming law. This is just another political messaging exercise with no path to making an impact,” McConnell said.