House Dems Vote to Block Trump Attack on Obamacare

But Mitch McConnell will likely have the president’s back in the Senate.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP

House Democrats voted Thursday to roll back a Trump administration rule that could undermine Obamacare by expanding the duration of short-term health plans—coverage Democrats have nicknamed “junk insurance.” The vote is largely symbolic; the Democratic measure is not expected to pass the GOP-controlled Senate.

Short-term, limited-duration health plans were originally designed as temporary solutions to cover individuals who experienced gaps in coverage for no more than three months. These policies cost less than plans that offer better quality coverage, but they do not comply with the Affordable Care Act’s standards requiring that insurers cover a set list of “essential” health care. Under these short-term plans, insurance companies may deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and they typically exclude some benefits—such as prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health care—that are required by Obamacare.

Last year, Trump expanded the duration of these plans to up to three years. As part of the 2017 tax cut bill, Congress eliminated the individual mandate, meaning that individuals will no longer incur a tax penalty if they don’t have Obamacare-compliant health insurance. Democrats fear that these Trump-era changes will lead more healthy individuals to purchase cheap, short-term plans, raising premiums for those still buying insurance through Obamacare’s marketplaces.

The House vote is part of a wider effort among Democrats to confront Trump over his attacks on Obamacare in the run-up to the 2020 elections.

FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.