Politics

An Early Preview of Democrats’ Health Care Strategy

Amendments on health law possible at unrelated markup

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

One Senate Democrat is looking to quickly ratchet up pressure on Republicans in the chamber who are now crafting their own legislation to repeal large portions of the 2010 health law.

Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., filed several politically charged amendments that would protect keys aspects of the law for an unrelated markup on Wednesday in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, he told Roll Call on Tuesday. 

The committee is considering a bill that would allow the FDA to continue to draw funds from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to pay for activities at the agency.

“I filed four, but I have not made a decision on whether to offer them yet,” Murphy said.  

None of the four amendments reviewed by Roll Call stand much of a chance of advancing out of the committee. But it could put early pressure on Republicans on the panel as the chamber begins to revise a bill to gut large parts of the law that passed the House last week. 

Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the committee’s chairman, is one of several senators who are part of a working group organized by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to help write the chamber’s repeal bill.

Among the measures that Murphy filed is one that would protect the law’s so-called essential health benefits and another that would prevent a state from obtaining a waiver to opt out of some parts of the law, a key provision in the House legislation that brought several conservative holdouts on board. 

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