House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled a bill to expand the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as they seek to draw a contrast with Republicans on health care ahead of November's elections.
The House will vote Monday on the measure, which includes Democratic priorities like expanding the health law’s subsidies to make premiums more affordable and increasing federal Medicaid funding to encourage the remaining states to expand Medicaid.
The measure attempts to steer clear of the Democratic debate over Medicare for All by avoiding any kind of public option, instead seeking smaller changes to ObamaCare.
Protecting the ACA was a key issue in Democrats taking back the House in 2018 and the party is again seeking to capitalize on the topic. A press conference to unveil the bill on Wednesday featured multiple freshman lawmakers facing competitive reelection races, including Reps. Colin Allred (Texas), Lauren UnderwoodLauren UnderwoodTop officials turn over Twitter accounts to 'share the mic' with Black cybersecurity experts Biden meets with vulnerable House Democrats with agenda in limbo Clyburn receives award named for John Lewis at March on Washington Film Festival's kickoff MORE (Ill.), Angie Craig (Minn.) and Andy Kim (N.J.).
The measure is expected to go nowhere in the Senate, given Republican opposition to the ACA.
But the move is timed to coincide with a deadline on Thursday for the Trump administration to file its brief with the Supreme Court arguing for ObamaCare to be struck down, which Democrats highlighted as a “stupid” move in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was wrong any time, now it's beyond stupid,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiJudge to hear Trump's case against Jan. 6 committee in November Kamala Harris engages with heckler during New York speech GOP lawmaker calls for Meghan, Harry to lose royal titles over paid leave push MORE (D-Calif.) said Wednesday.
Kim added: “It is insane that in the middle of a pandemic our health care in our country is under attack.”
The measure would be paid for by including a provision to allow the secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs, part of major drug pricing legislation that House Democrats passed last year.
Republicans largely oppose that measure as well, arguing it would hinder pharmaceutical innovation.