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

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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.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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