- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 16, 2019

The House approved health-care legislation aimed at slashing drug costs and rolling back President Trump’s changes to the 2010 health law, as Democrats sought to turn a winning midterm message into a 2020-election weapon.

Democrats muscled the bill to passage on a near-party line vote, 234-183, though it has no chance of advancing in the Senate, as Republicans complained that Obamacare-related “poison pills” had eclipsed bipartisan work on prescription drugs.

The bill’s measures are designed to bring cheaper generic drugs to market faster, while killing Mr. Trump’s push to let people buy cheaper, bare-bones health-insurance plans instead of what Obamacare requires.

It would restore funding for Obamacare promotion and enrollment assistance, and help states create their own insurance exchanges instead of relying on the federal site, HealthCare.gov.

“Taken together, these bills will strengthen our nation’s health care system, reverse the Trump administration’s sabotage of the Affordable Care Act and help lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs,” said Rep. Frank Pallone, New Jersey Democrat and House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman.

Republicans said it’s the “together” part that’s a problem.

GOP leaders cheered the individual prescription-drug provisions including one that would prevent brand-name companies from gaming the patent system. But they couldn’t stomach parts of the bill that scold Mr. Trump over his tweaks to Obamacare.

“Up until yesterday, it would have been a very positive moment of bipartisanship in this House,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican. “Sadly the Democrat majority added partisan poison pills to try and bail out pieces of the Affordable Care Act.”

Only five Republicans voted for the bill.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2021 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide