Senate Democrats to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves

Senate Democrats to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves
© Greg Nash

Senate Democratic leaders said they will force a floor vote as early as Wednesday in an attempt to overturn a Trump administration rule that allows states to ignore parts of ObamaCare.

The resolution from Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election Senate fight derails bipartisan drug pricing bills Trump has officially appointed one in four circuit court judges MORE (D-N.Y.) needs a simple majority to pass, meaning Democrats would need four GOP senators to vote against the Trump policy. 

It’s the latest sign that Democrats are looking to keep playing offense on healthcare, a strategy that helped them take control of the House during the 2018 midterm elections. The goal is to make vulnerable GOP incumbents like Sens. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Senate panel clears controversial Trump court pick Republicans warn election results are 'wake-up call' for Trump MORE (Maine), Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Progressive veterans group launches campaign labeling Trump as a 'national security threat' It's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number 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.) take a tough vote.

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The Trump administration has been making it easier for states to opt out of certain ObamaCare requirements if they want to. Senate Democrats are forcing a vote to overturn a policy that lets states prioritize cheaper, leaner plans than the ones offered on the ObamaCare exchanges. 

The plans don’t need to cover certain “essential” benefits such as mental-health services and prenatal care, and they can refuse to cover people with preexisting conditions. Democrats have called the plans “junk insurance.”  

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

The Senate vote seeks to show that Democrats have not forgotten about health care, and would counter the Republican criticism that Democrats’ main goal is impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpThis week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry Impeachment week: Trump probe hits crucial point Judd Gregg: The big, big and bigger problem MORE.

“This week, the Senate will hold one of the most significant votes of the year: we will finally see where Republicans stand on the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage the health care of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer said in a statement. 

“It is preposterous that the Trump administration claims to care about preserving pre-existing condition protections for millions of Americans while simultaneously peddling shoddy, substandard junk plans that undermine and weaken those very protections,” he added.

Democrats see health care and protecting people with preexisting conditions as one of their biggest advantages heading into 2020.

The Senate vote comes as a federal 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.