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House Democrats unveil Affordable Care Act reinforcement bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI
1 of 4 | Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act Wednesday at the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Sarah Silbiger/UPI | License Photo

June 24 (UPI) -- House Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation to reinforce the Affordable Care Act and Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she plans to bring it to a floor vote next week.

The bill would cap silver health insurance premiums at 8.5 percent of household income and authorize the Health and Human Services secretary to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. Plans through the Healthcare Marketplace are grouped into four categories based on their cost and level of coverage -- platinum, gold, silver and bronze.

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"The wellbeing and security of American families and the workers of our nation are at stake," said Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., who participated in a news conference with Pelosi to unveil the bill.

Pelosi told reporters she'd bring the bill to the House floor for a vote next week, though it will face a challenge in the Republican-held Senate.

It comes as the Trump administration prepares to file briefs challenging the constitutionality of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

President Donald Trump promised to repeal the ACA since his early campaign days, but Republican efforts to do so in Congress have failed. The issue has now gone to the country's high court.

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During a town hall meeting aired on Fox News in March, Trump said he'd like to "totally kill" the ACA after eliminating the individual mandate.

"So it's not great healthcare, but we're managing it fantastically. And you don't see all those stories about the rates going through the roof anymore because we know what we're doing. At the same time, we want to get you really fantastic healthcare. If we can win back the House, we will be able to do that," the president said.

Pelosi said the timing of the challenge is bad considering the coronavirus pandemic.

"Tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear the brief from the Trump administration as to taking down the Affordable Care Act, right in the heart of the time of the pandemic," Pelosi said of President Donald Trump's efforts to dismantle the healthcare system.

"It wasn't right anytime, but now it's beyond stupid."

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