The Affordable Care Act was a significant effort to fix the broken health care system that too often punished individuals for having preexisting conditions and caused tens of thousands to go without health care because it was too expensive.
It has been largely successful in helping Americans overall since its implementation over the past decade, though like many laws, it wasn’t perfect. Constant attacks by the right, including from President Donald Trump, have also made the law difficult to enforce, and thus, some updates to the law have been required.
Some of the harshest criticisms of the law have come from the GOP. Yet when Democrats in the House of Representatives offered a bill with a series of updates on Thursday, Republicans stood largely against them.
The MORE Health Education Act aims to lower prescription drug costs as well as preserve protections for people with preexisting conditions, Shareblue reported on Thursday. The bill passed the house by a vote of 234 to 183, with every “nay” vote belonging to a Republican lawmaker. Five Republicans in the chamber crossed the aisle in order to support the updates.
Democrats pointed out the bill they offered protects the ACA against further erosions put forth by the White House.
“There’s been a relentless campaign of sabotage by the Trump administration to deny people health care, and thankfully, the new Democratic majority in the House has taken action,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, per reporting from the New York Times.
The Speaker also expressed doubts that the Republican-controlled Senate would support the broad measures to update the law. “But the Republican-led Senate? No movement. Nothing,” she added.
Others pointed out that the GOP has in the past stated they want to help Americans by updating or changing the law. The new bill does that, Margarida Jorge, the executive director of Health Care for America Now, said.
“President Trump and his allies in Congress claim to care about Americans’ health care and making prescription drugs more affordable — now we’ll find out if that’s true,” Jorge added.
The bill would restore $100 million in funding Trump took away from “navigator” groups that are meant to help people find insurance within the online exchange. It would also reverse a rule expanding “short-term” insurance options to Americans that don’t protect against preexisting conditions, and eliminate tactics used by drug companies to control the prices of prescription drug prices.
Though a vast majority of the House voted in favor of the bill, it’s not likely to pass within the Senate. Should it miraculously make it through that chamber, the president would also likely veto the measure.