The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act aims to make health care more affordable by lowering health insurance premiums with strengthened and expanded affordability assistance.
It would also increase federal funding for Medicaid to encourage other states to expand their programs.
Incorporating provisions in a previous piece of legislation that passed the House in December, the bill also requires the federal government to negotiate the prices of at least 25 drugs each year.
Republicans argued the bill would not only exacerbate the troubles of an already dysfunctional program but end up impeding Americans' ability to get new prescription drugs. "Democrats timed the vote to contrast with the Trump administration's legal brief filed with the Supreme Court last week calling for the ACA to be struck down, a move Democrats said would be even more harmful during the coronavirus pandemic". "Then why are you in the United States Supreme Court to overturn them?"
In 2017 as part of the tax code overhaul, Congress zeroed out the penalty for not having coverage, which Mr. Trump signed.
A federal appeals court ruled a year ago that the mandate requiring all Americans to have insurance or pay a penalty runs afoul of the Constitution because it is no longer a tax following President Trump's decision to zero out the fine.
"Protecting the health care of New Jerseyans has never been more important, and the improvements in this bill have never been more necessary", said Congressman Kim, who continued, "We've seen more than 13,000 of our neighbors die and tens of thousands infected during this pandemic - the choice we have is clear: we can make sure more of our neighbors can access affordable health care, or we can let the Trump Administration kick them off their plans and leave them in the cold". The legislation would add to some of the ACA's central elements by expanding eligibility for insurance subsidies to those at higher incomes and pressuring more than a dozen states to expand Medicaid.
Progressive lawmakers who have pushed sweeping "Medicare for All" legislation largely backed the more moderate health bill, which is aimed at shoring up Democrats' support in swing districts that were pivotal to the party retaking control of the House in the 2018 midterms. The bill was brought to the floor with no bipartisan committee input and no amendments allowed, and the final vote was 234 to 179.
Later this week, Democrats are set to check off another Election Day priority with their $1.5 trillion infrastructure package.
For a decade now, Republicans repeatedly sought to repeal Obamacare without offering a serious replacement - the last attempt so reckless that John McCain provided the deciding vote against it.