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

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis and more, subscribe to Mother Jones' newsletters.

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.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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.