Senate Democrats Announce Plan To Force Vote On New Legislation To Overturn Trump Administration’s Junk Health Insurance Rule That Eliminates Vital Protections For People With Pre-Existing ConditionsAugust 2, 2018
In Accordance With The Congressional Review Act, Senate Democrats Will Force Vote In Coming Months On Senator Baldwin’s New Legislation To Repeal Trump Admin’s Rule Expanding Junk Insurance Plans
Senate Democrats: Republicans Will Be Given Choice To Stand With The Trump Admin’s Health Care Sabotage Or The American People Who Want Lower Health Care Costs And Protections For Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions
Washington, D.C. - Senate Democrats announced plans to introduce new legislation today – in accordance with the Congressional Review Act – to overturn the Trump administration’s final “junk insurance” plan rule, which expands so-called short-term health care plans that are not required to cover vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions, among other essential health benefits. According to experts, the administration’s new rule would raise premiums and reduce plan choices for individuals with pre-existing conditions and employees in the regular insurance market and put insurance companies back in charge, allowing them to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions or refuse to cover other vital services like prescription drugs, maternity care, emergency room services, substance use disorder treatment and more.
The Senate Democrats’ new resolution of disapproval, which is being led by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), would rescind the Trump administration’s rule and maintain these vital health care protections that Republicans in Congress and the administration are attempting to eliminate. Congressional Review Act (CRA) disapproval resolutions allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions taken by federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers. In accordance with the Congressional Review Act, the Senators will formally introduce the resolution after the rule is submitted to both houses of Congress and published in the federal register and then force a vote within 60 legislative days. Earlier this year, Senate Democrats successfully passed a disapproval resolution under the CRA to protect net neutrality with bipartisan support.
According to the LA Times, “more than 98% — or 335 of 340 — of the health care groups that commented on the [Trump administration’s] proposal to loosen restrictions on short-term health plans criticized it, in many cases warning that the rule could gravely hurt sick patients.” This included patient and consumer advocates, physician groups, nursing associations, hospital groups, medical providers, insurance companies and more. Additionally, after the administration announced the final rule yesterday, the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said the plan “has the potential to harm consumers, both by making comprehensive coverage more expensive and by leaving some consumers unaware of the risks of these policies”, while the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ASCAN) said it “poses a serious threat to cancer patients’ ability to access quality, affordable health coverage.” ACCSAN also said the Trump administration’s rule “will likely leave older and sicker Americans in the individual insurance marketplace with few, if any, affordable health coverage choices” and that “patients living with serious conditions will be left paying more for the coverage they need if they can afford coverage at all.”
“The Trump administration’s new rule expands plans that are nothing short of junk insurance, and Democrats in the Senate will do everything in our power to stop it,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “When Senate Democrats force a vote on this resolution under the CRA, the American people can see once and for all if Republicans stand with the Trump administration’s efforts to sabotage our health care system or if they stand on the side of the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. Instead of pushing new rules that weaken vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions and raising the cost of health care for families, President Trump and Republicans in Congress should work with us in a bipartisan fashion to lower costs and help the most vulnerable Americans.”
“We cannot let the Trump Administration rewrite the rules on the guaranteed health care protections that people depend on because no family should be forced to choose between helping a loved one get better or going bankrupt,” said Senate Committee on HELP Member Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). “These junk plans don’t have to cover prescription drugs, mental health services, substance abuse treatment, maternity care, and people with pre-existing conditions. Instead of expanding junk insurance plans that would take away this coverage and protections for people with pre-existing conditions, we need to protect Wisconsin’s access to quality, affordable care. That’s why the Senate should take action and stop this Trump sabotage from taking effect.”
“President Trump’s junk plans rule clearly works for insurers—and it works for the extreme special interests he wants to keep happy—but it will hurt patients and leave people across the country paying more for care they need. That’s absolutely backwards,” said Senate Committee on HELP Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). “Now, Senator McConnell said that every member of the Senate—including Republicans—supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions. I hope that’s true—and I’m proud to be joining my Democratic colleagues in giving Republicans a chance to prove it. Republicans who truly care about patients with pre-existing conditions, and who want to stop the sabotage we’ve already seen too much of from President Trump, can consider this an invitation.”
“Junk plans create a field day for insurance company profiteers who want to skimp on health benefits and use loopholes and other games to withhold care from Americans in need,” said Senate Committee on Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). “Americans with pre-existing conditions are going to be left out in the cold: junk plans won’t cover their needs and real insurance will become too expensive. This is not what people expected when Trump promised less expensive health care that covers everybody. This effort offers a chance for Republicans to prove that their entire health agenda is more than turning back the clock on Americans’ health care and increasing families’ premiums.”