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 CollinsOvernight Defense: Erdoğan gets earful from GOP senators | Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract decision in court | Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families Senate confirms controversial circuit court nominee Lawmakers under pressure to pass benefits fix for military families 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 SchumerOvernight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban Chad Wolf becomes acting DHS secretary Schumer blocks drug pricing measure during Senate fight, seeking larger action 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 GardnerTariffs threaten 1.5M jobs: Study This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' MORE (Colo.) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' Advocates step up efforts for horse racing reform bill after more deaths 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 McConnellGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy On The Money: Trump asks Supreme Court to block Dem subpoena for financial records | Kudlow 'very optimistic' for new NAFTA deal | House passes Ex-Im Bank bill opposed by Trump, McConnell Top House Democrats ask for review of DHS appointments 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.