CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday voted against a resolution condemning the efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration against the federal health care law.
The House passed the resolution in a 240-186-1 vote in response to the Department of Justice’s decision last week supporting a federal judge’s decision on the constitutionality of “Obamacare.” The measure also called on the department to reverse its decision.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday proposed a similar resolution.
Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller opposed House Resolution 271, as did 182 other Republicans and one Democrat.
“H.R. 271 is just another political messaging bill,” McKinley said in a statement. “The main focus for our office is on legislation that will help West Virginians.”
The House Committee on Energy and Commerce on Wednesday unanimously passed the CREATES Act, which creates punishments for drug companies who work to prevent cheaper generic drugs from being introduced. McKinley co-sponsored the legislation.
Mooney said the current health care law is not working, and applauded Trump for his actions on the matter.
“This resolution to condemn President Trump is nothing more than a political stunt from (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and socialist Democrats,” he noted in a statement. “Under Donald Trump’s leadership, the economy is thriving and unemployment is low. I will continue to work with our President to ensure we fulfill the promises we made to the American people.”
Miller called the resolution a “political stunt” by Democrats.
“I’m committed to working with President Trump to deliver the high-quality, affordable health care we deserve, including lower prescription prices and certainly protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions,” she said through a spokesperson.
McKinley and Mooney supported efforts to repeal the health care law during the previous Congress.
West Virginia is part of a coalition of states suing the federal government over the health care law. The lawsuit concerns the law’s former individual mandate provision, which was repealed as part of the 2017 tax law. The plaintiffs have argued the removed provision is essential to the health care statute based on Chief Justice John Robert’s 2012 decision upholding “Obamacare.”
The Justice Department previously stated it would not defend the law in court, but attorneys last week wrote the December decision by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas should be affirmed.
If “Obamacare” is struck down, more than 20 million Americans who gained coverage through the law’s Medicaid expansion and insurance marketplaces would be at risk of losing their insurance.
More than 160,000 West Virginians are enrolled in the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which launched in 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau reported last September the state’s uninsured rate fell from 14 percent in 2013 to 5.3 percent in 2016.
Twenty-one states are challenging the ruling in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Trump tweeted Monday any efforts to pass a health care bill would happen after the 2020 election; Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Republican senators do not have an appetite for health care legislation as long as Democrats control the House.