Senate Democrats took aim at President Trump’s expansion of short-term health care plans Wednesday, forcing a vote on a proposal to roll back the administration’s plan to allow insurers to sell low-cost, reduced-benefit plans.
Republican Susan Collins of Maine joined with Democrats to support the resolution, but the vote resulted in a 50-50 tie, failing to achieve a majority. The vote was largely symbolic, since it had little chance of passing the Republican-controlled House. Even so, the Trump administration issued its first-ever veto threat.
The resolution, written by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), was designed to highlight what Democrats see as a key issue in the midterm elections: protections for pre-existing conditions. While Republicans have claimed to be defending those protections, the short-term plans promoted by the White House could undermine them, allowing insurers to charge more or deny coverage to customers who have certain medical problems.
Republicans defend short-term plans as a cost-saving option for Americans feeling the squeeze of higher premiums. Nevertheless, Collins cited pre-existing conditions as she explained her vote for the Democratic proposal. “We do have an affordability problem,” Collins said Wednesday, “but I don’t think the answer is to wipe out consumer protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”