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 CollinsTrump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Romney calls lunch with Trump 'delightful' Trump lunches with two of his biggest Senate GOP critics 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 SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump signs short-term spending bill to avert shutdown Senators urge Trump to suspend Huawei license approvals Tensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 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 Scott Gardner2020 hopes rise for gun control groups after Virginia elections Feehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Tariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study MORE (Colo.) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyProgressive group to spend as much as M to turn out young voters This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' 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 McConnellOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Deal on defense bill proves elusive | Hill, Holmes offer damaging testimony | Trump vows to block Navy from ousting officer from SEALs Trump steps up GOP charm offensive as impeachment looms Congressional authority in a time of Trump executive overreach 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.