Victory (with a massive caveat): #ACA2.0 passes U.S. House!
Last evening, over three years after I posted my "If I Ran the Zoo" wish list of recommended improvements for the ACA, the U.S. House of Representatives finally passed H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Enhancement Act (#AHEA), which I simply dub "ACA 2.0":
House Democrats on Monday passed a bill that would bolster the Affordable Care Act by hiking premium subsidies and incentivizing states to expand Medicaid.
I wrote up a detailed, step-by-step explainer of all 30 provisions of the ACEA last week, and couldn't be happier to see it finally pass through at least one Congressional body.
The bill passed largely along party lines, and it stands virtually no chance in the GOP-led Senate. Democrats are using the vote as a campaign messaging tool days after the Trump administration reiterated its call for the Supreme Court to strike down the ACA in its entirety.
The actual vote was 234 Yeas to 179 Nays, with 18 House members (all Republicans) not voting at all. There were three noteworthy votes: Two Republicans voted yes (Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02), while one Democrat voted no (Colin Peterson (MN-07)).
Peterson's "no" vote isn't surprising, as he's one of the most conservative Democrats in the House and represents a deep red district (Trump won it by over 30 points and it's rated R+12 by the Cook Political Report). I don't know if Nancy Pelosi gave him her blessing to do so or not, but it doesn't matter much.
Fitzpatrick and Van Drew's "yes" votes also make sense on the surface (they both represent R+1 districts, and Hillary Clinton won Fitzpatrick's district by 2 points), but there's another story to note for each:
- Fitzpatrick was actually one of the lead sponsors, with Democrat Andy Kim, of H.R. 1385, a bill which would provide $200 million for states to establish their own ACA exchanges last year...and voted yes on several other bills to improve the ACA which are also part of H.R. 1425.
- Van Drew, meanwhile, infamously switched parties last winter just ahead of the House impeachment vote...but while he was listed as a Democrat, he co-sponsored H.R. 1884, the prior version of H.R. 1425 (and very similar to it).
Anyway, as noted in the quote above, as thrilled as I am about H.R. 1425 passing the House...it's going absolutely nowhere in the Senate as long as Mitch McConnell is running that body, and even if it did somehow get a Senate vote and passed, it would obviously be vetoed by Trump anyway.
Therefore, ACA 2.0 will indeed have to wait until at least January 20, 2021 to have any chance at becoming the law of the land.