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 CollinsCampaigns pivot toward health awareness as races sidelined by coronavirus Senate eyes quick exit after vote on coronavirus stimulus package The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Trump, Dems close in on deal 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 SchumerTexas man arrested for allegedly threatening Democrats over coronavirus bill Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing COVID-19, Bill Barr and the American authoritarian tradition 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 GardnerRomney says he tested negative for coronavirus, will remain in quarantine Senate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Airbnb - Markets expected to plunge amid partisan squabbling MORE (Colo.) and Martha McSallyMartha Elizabeth McSallyNew bill would withhold pay from Senate until coronavirus stimulus package passes Senate GOP super PAC books more than million in fall ads Politics and the pandemic — Republicans are rightly worried 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 McConnellHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Trump signs T coronavirus relief package Pelosi not invited by Trump to White House coronavirus relief bill's signing 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.