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Democrats push to expand Affordable Care Act

Washington D.C.

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats and Republicans reignited their feud over health care on Monday as House Democrats advanced a plan to expand coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

“When you’re in the middle of a pandemic, when people are scared, they’re scared, they’re anxious — you don’t threaten to take away their health care, you help make it stronger,” Rep. Debbie Dingell said.

The vote comes just days after the Trump administration called on the Supreme Court to scrap the Obama-era program.

Democratic Congresswoman Cheri Bustos says that would leave 23 million Americans without health care.

“I can’t think of something more foolish,” Bustos said.

Democrats say their plan would help lower premiums, allow the government to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and provide more states with incentives to expand Medicaid.

Florida Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor, who represents the Tampa Bay area, said the package would help renew a “financial path for the State of Florida to expand Medicaid.”

“COVID-19 highlights the importance of affordable health care, treatments and access, and I will continue to stand up for my neighbors and their access to affordable health care,” Rep. Castor said in a statement. “Meanwhile, President Trump, Gov. DeSantis and Republicans are fighting all the way to the Supreme Court to rip health care away from American families, including over 1 million Floridians who receive coverage through HealthCare.gov. Even as our neighbors grapple with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 health crisis, Republicans want to strip protections from our neighbors with pre-existing conditions – it’s wrong and it’s cruel.”

Democrat Sharice Davids says the bill would be a big help for Kansas — one of 14 states that hasn’t expanded its program.

“It’s something I’ve been pushing for a long time, since before I was in Congress,” Davids said.

But Republicans like Illinois Congressman Rodney Davis say Democrats only want headlines before the election.

“This is nothing that is going to become law,” Davis said.

Louisiana Republican Steve Scalise says the bill will slow innovation of life saving drugs.

“We should be focused on expediting a cure, not making it harder for the cure for COVID-19 to the market,” Scalise said.

With little Republican support, the bill isn’t expected to go anywhere in the Senate.

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