Healthcare

Senate Democrats to vote this week to overturn Trump ObamaCare moves

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 Schumer (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 Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.) and Martha McSally (Ariz.) take a tough vote.

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 Trump.

"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. 

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