Top House, Senate Dems warn administration on short-term insurance

Top House, Senate Dems warn administration on short-term insurance
© Greg Nash

The ranking Democrats of five House and Senate committees are calling on the Trump administration to withdraw a proposal that would expand access to plans that don’t meet ObamaCare’s consumer protection rules.

Led by House Energy and Commerce Committee ranking member Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHillicon Valley: Experts worry North Korea will retaliate with hacks over summit | FBI works to disrupt Russian botnet | Trump officials look to quell anger over ZTE | Obama makes case for tighter regs on tech Dem calls for hearing on alleged wireless data disclosures House approves 'right to try,' sends bill to Trump's desk MORE (N.J.), the Democrats warned Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and other administration officials in a Thursday letter that the rule would “encourage the sale of junk health plans that will undermine consumer protections, sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces, and expose consumers to great financial risk.”

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The proposed rules would allow people to buy short-term health insurance for up to 12 months, lifting restrictions from the Obama administration that limited the coverage to a maximum of three months.

“This proposed rule would expand the availability of discriminatory, deceptive, and insufficient plans … that deceive consumers into thinking they are covered for major medical expenses, and is yet another attempt to sabotage the health care markets on which millions rely for coverage,” wrote Democratic Reps. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealPush for NAFTA deal continues as uncertainty increases Overnight Finance: Good economic vibes fail to make GOP tax law popular | AT&T says hiring Cohen was 'big mistake' | Congress, Trump eye new agency to invest overseas Good economic vibes fail to make GOP tax law popular MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottBishop from royal wedding marches to White House Bishop from royal wedding to march against 'America First' policies in DC Supreme Court upholds agreements that prevent employee class-action suits MORE (Va.) and Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Abortion rights group plans M campaign to flip the House The federal judiciary needs more Latino judges Senate Dems to Mnuchin: Don't index capital gains to inflation MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump to sign 'right to try' drug bill next week Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump official won't OK lifetime limits on Medicaid Dems warn against changes to federal family planning program MORE (Wash.).

The short-term plans split from ObamaCare in multiple ways, including that people with pre-existing conditions can be charged more. In addition, the plans do not have to comply with ObamaCare mandates for covering certain services, such as mental health treatment or prescription drugs.

The rule was one step taken by the Trump administration to open up cheaper, less-comprehensive insurance options as an alternative to people signing up for ObamaCare. Republicans say these options are needed to help people facing high costs under the health law.