(EDITOR’S NOTE, 10/12/18, 11:17 PM ET: A hyperlink to the roll call vote for Sen. Baldwin’s resolution on pre-existing conditions was added in the first paragraph of this article.)
In a 50-50 vote, Republicans defeated a Democratic measure to stop the return of denying health coverage for pre-existing conditions. The measure was part of a Democratic attempt to bring healthcare to the forefront of the campaign for control of Congress in November.
Under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) insurers were no longer allowed to deny coverage or charge higher premiums to people who had a medical condition at the time of seeking insurance. This included everything from pregnancy to just being transgender among as many as 400 other conditions. President Trump reversed course on this, however.
This was possible because the short-term health plans Trump has been pushing don’t need to adhere to the standards of normal plans governed by the Affordable Care Act.
“The Trump administration is rewriting the rules on guaranteed health care protections that millions of Americans depend on,” stated Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), who is up for reelection in November. “These junk insurance plans can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and don’t have to provide essential health services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits and maternity care.”
It was Baldwin who filed the petition to reconsider Trump’s weakening of pre-existing condition protections.
After a year of failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans began employing a new strategy — corrode it until it no longer had any meaning. This “collapse and replace” strategy has been working fairly well for opponents of Obamacare.
After Republicans repealed the individual mandate, a key element of what made Obamacare affordable, people saw premiums spike by as much as 30 percent. The Trump Administration also plans scheduled maintenance of the Obamacare enrollment system Healthcare.gov during the upcoming enrollment period.
“I’ve been saying for the last year and a half that the best thing we can do politically speaking is let Obamacare explode,” Trump said.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) called out that attitude before Wednesday’s vote.
“All of my colleagues should vote for this, but I suspect my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have a different idea because ever since taking control of congress and the presidency, Republicans have deliberately, relentlessly undermined Americans’ health care,” he said.
Katelyn Kivel is a contributing editor and senior legal reporter for Grit Post in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Follow her on Twitter @KatelynKivel.