House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is criticizing President Donald Trump as he presents a plan to expand the Obama-era health law
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WASHINGTON – Throwing derogatory blow at President Donald Trump, Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi revealed on Wednesday a plan to expand “Obamacare” even as the Trump administration is about to present arguments in a case of the Supreme Court to dismantle it.
Pelosi announced an upcoming vote on his measure, setting up a debate that will juxtapose the Democrats’ main political issue, Trump’s tireless efforts to dismantle Obama’s legacy, and the indomitable coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the Trump administration is expected to file documents with the Supreme Court arguing that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. Pelosi wants his bill on the floor of the Chamber on Monday.
Trying to reverse a health insurance expansion that covers some 20 million people “was wrong at any time,” Pelosi said.
“Now, it’s more than stupid,” he added. “Beyond stupid.”
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in major states like Texas, Florida, and California, and millions of workers who have lost coverage in the economic shutdown to contain the virus can rely on health law for support.
The White House said Pelosi is only playing politics. “Rather than plunging back into partisan games, Democrats should continue to work with the president on these important issues and ensure that our country comes out of this pandemic stronger than ever,” spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement.
Pelosi’s legislation has no chance in the Republican-controlled Senate.
His bill would expand the subsidies, allowing more people to qualify for ACA coverage. It would financially squeeze out some states that have refused to expand Medicaid under the health law. And it would empower Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, a position Trump once favored but later abandoned.
It would also undo the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term insurance plans that don’t have to cover pre-existing medical conditions, something that Democrats say will undermine a central ACA achievement.
Democrats gained control of the House in 2018 in their defense of the health care law. Since then, that chamber has voted on most of the measures in Pelosi’s plan in one way or another.
But, as underscored in a memorandum last month chaired by Democratic Congress Campaign Committee chairwoman Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., The broader goal is to get Republicans to squirm.
“Republicans at all levels own the attack on this lawsuit against American health care,” says the memo. “They will be responsible for their party-wide obsession to throw our healthcare system into chaos and strip healthcare of 20 million Americans during a global pandemic.”
Obama’s law has become more popular since Trump’s unsuccessful effort to repeal it in 2017, when Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate. In May, a nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 51% of Americans view “Obamacare” favorably while 41% have unfavorable views.
A previous Kaiser survey also found that nearly 6 in 10 are concerned that they or someone in their family would lose coverage if the Supreme Court voids the entire law or its protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.
In the court case, Texas and other conservative states argue that the ACA became essentially unconstitutional after Congress passed tax legislation in 2017 that removed unpopular fines from the law for not having health insurance, but left it in force. its requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage.
Conservative states argued that the removal of fines made the so-called individual mandate of the law unconstitutional. Federal District Judge Reed O’Connor in Texas agreed, adding that the mandate was so central to the law that without it the rest must also fall.
The Trump administration’s views on the law have changed over time, but it has always supported getting rid of provisions that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people because of their medical history. However, Trump has repeatedly assured Americans that people with pre-existing conditions would still be protected. Neither the White House nor Republicans in Congress have specified how.
A federal appeals court in New Orleans deemed the health law’s insurance requirement unconstitutional, but made no decision on popular provisions such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Medicaid expansion, and coverage for young adults up to age 26 in their parents’ policies. She sent the case to O’Connor to determine if other parts of the law can separate from the insurance requirement and stay in place.
Democrat-led states supporting the ACA appealed to the Supreme Court. It is unclear whether the court will hear oral arguments before the November elections. A decision is unlikely until next year.
The court has upheld the law twice, with Chief Justice John Roberts memorably supporting the court’s liberals in 2012, amid Obama’s reelection campaign. The majority that upheld the law twice remains in court.
Associated Press writer Mark Sherman contributed.