Republicans in the House of Representatives today continued their assault on the moral imperative of ensuring all Americans have access to quality, affordable, transparent health care. The funding bill for the Labor, Health and Human Services and Labor departments that was approved today by the House of Representatives subcommittee responsible for funding those agencies was little more than yet another vote to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Democrats on the subcommittee attempted to block the bill's advancement, offering amendments to strike inappropriately added policy requirements and include funding enabling the ACA to be implemented and millions of Americans to benefit from lower premiums and expand health benefits. The first of those amendments offered, by the subcommittee's senior Democrat, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) would have eliminated sections of the bill that took away funds for the ACA, making it impossible to implement. The amendment would ensure that: individuals and small businesses could shop for competitive insurance rates, being a woman would not be a "pre-existing condition" and the prescription drug donut hole would continue to close for seniors. The amendment was defeated 5-9 on a strictly party-line vote.
"By defeating this amendment, the subcommittee has rolled back the clock for millions of Americans," DeLauro said. "The Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Cart Act less than a month ago, it is the law of the land, but my colleagues cannot seem to move on. We keep voting on an ideological agenda that places the lives of our constituents at risk, and it has got to stop."
The subcommittee debated several other amendments offered by Democratic members. All were defeated by a party-line 5-9 vote.
Removal of all extraneous policy statements ("riders") from the legislation, offered by full Committee senior Democrat Rep. Norm Dicks
Striking the rider that allows a health plan, group, or individual insurance policy to decide not to cover virtually any medical service based on an individual's religious beliefs or moral convictions, offered by Rep. Nita Lowey.
Deleting the rider that would have prohibited the Department of Labor from even considering a proposed rule to make home health care workers eligible for minimum wage, overtime and other basic protections, offered by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard.
Deleting the rider that would have prohibited any funds from going to Planned Parenthood, offered by Rep. Barbara Lee.