Democrats in the House who vote against a bill that diverts money from an Obamacare program to help Americans with pre-existing conditions will likely regret it, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said.
“I don’t think that is something that they can go home and be proud of,” Cantor said at a Capitol Hill briefing with reporters on Wednesday.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced earlier this year that it would phase out a temporary program for enrolling people with pre-existing conditions in stop-gap insurance plans. The program is designed to insure them until state-based health insurance exchanges go online in 2014.
The bill scheduled for a vote on Wednesday would reinstate the program using money from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, which critics say is riddled with waste and abuse. Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the bill last week on a party-line vote.
“It’s the right thing to do, putting money where it is most needed,” GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee said at the briefing. Blackburn serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee.
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That the House is going ahead with the vote — despite a veto threat from the White House — indicates that the House GOP leadership believes they have the votes to pass it.
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California demurred when asked about the bill’s chances.
“The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t ask about the rule for Fight Club,” McCarthy said, in reference to a popular movie in the 1990s.
Cantor was more direct.
“We are forging ahead,” he said. “This is the right thing to do.”
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