U.S. Senate Democrats fail to unravel Trump policy that weakens Obamacare

Health care
CD Davidson-Hiers photo

U.S. Senate Democrats failed on Wednesday to overturn a Trump administration policy that allows states to ignore certain requirements of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, with both of Florida’s senators siding with the administration.

Democrats forced a Senate floor vote on a resolution that sought to unravel the controversial Trump administration health care rule. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott both voted “nay.” Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins was the lone Republican to vote for the resolution, which failed by a vote of 43-52.

The effort was seen as symbolic, given that there was virtually no chance of it winning support from the GOP-controlled Senate and the White House. Senate Democrats said it was an opportunity to put their colleagues on the record backing a Trump administration rule that would weaken health care protections.

The policy in question allows states to skirt certain requirements in the Affordable Care Act. It would allow states, for example, to use federal cash to subsidize some short-term insurance plans with limited protections for people with pre-existing conditions, The New York Times reported last year when the policy was rolled out.

Democrats in Congress have railed against the Trump administration policy for allowing a proliferation of “junk” insurance plans that don’t provide the comprehensive coverage envisioned by the sweeping health care law.

“The administration has worked to make it easier for states to use taxpayer dollars to subsidize these junk insurance plans, many of which don’t cover essential benefits like maternity care, preventative screening and mental health care,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said ahead of the vote. “These junk plans leave families vulnerable and are nothing but a boon to health insurance companies.”