A Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives pushed a bill through this week designed to reinforce and strengthen aspects of the Affordable Care Act.
Nevertheless, nine members of a caucus led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) supported a GOP amendment that would have sent the bill back to a committee for further study, as Breitbart reported.
House Resolution 1425, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act, would increase certain subsidies while reinforcing other provisions within the landmark health care law passed in 2010.
“This motion should be adopted”
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), on the other hand, put forward a motion to recommit the bill to the House Energy and Commerce Committee for an amendment ensuring the bill would not “adversely affect research on, development of, or approval of any drug (including any biological product) intended to treat or prevent infection with the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The motion was defeated by a margin of 223-187, but included nine Democrats who broke with the party. House records indicate they were Reps. Anthony Brindisi (NY), Abby Finkenauer (IA), Jared Golden (ME), Josh Gottheimer (NJ), Ben McAdams (UT), Stephany Murphy (FL), Collin Peterson (MN), Max Rose (NY), and Mikie Sherrill (NJ).
Walden made his case in favor of the amendment, which apparently convinced a handful of Democrats, during remarks on the House floor prior to the vote.
“This motion should be adopted,” he said, according to Breitbart. “It would prevent the bill from upending the very progress we’re all counting on for innovators to develop new vaccines and therapies to confront this killer coronavirus.”
The amendment would have required certification from the Department of Health and Human Services that no provision of the bill would interfere with ongoing coronavirus-related research and development.
“Inhibit research and innovation”
“The Democrats — with a straight face — have come to the floor today to move a bill that would do grave damage to medical innovation,” Walden argued.
The Republican lawmaker noted that there was already evidence from an independent analysis that Obamacare mandates delayed or prevented the development and release of various medical innovations. He went on to express concern that potentially lifesaving coronavirus cures or treatments could meet the same fate under the bill pushed by Pelosi and the Democratic majority.
“Let’s at least make sure that an unintended, but dangerous consequence of this bill does NOT take effect,” Walden pleaded, as Breitbart reported. “Let’s make sure that it will NOT inhibit research and innovation for a treatment or a cure to COVID-19.”
The fact that nine Democrats agreed with his proposal is perhaps a sign that Pelosi’s ability to keep the party in line is not as absolute as some in the party might hope. Nevertheless, the GOP is surely lamenting the fact that Walden was not able to convince a sufficient number to actually sway the final result of the vote.