Democrats demand answers on Trump short-term insurance plans

House and Senate Democrats want answers about the Trump administration’s decision to expand the availability of short-term insurance plans that are not required to meet ObamaCare requirements.

The letter sent Tuesday is the third time Democratic health care leaders have written to the administration about the short-term plan proposal, but the first time since Democrats took control of the House.

ADVERTISEMENT
Lawmakers said they have yet to receive all of the information and answers they requested. Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by That's Medicaid — Deal on surprise medical bills faces obstacles | House GOP unveils rival drug pricing measure ahead of Pelosi vote | Justices to hear case over billions in ObamaCare payments Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills This week: House impeachment inquiry hits crucial stretch MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealWyden, Mnuchin clash over Trump tax returns, Hunter Biden probe Overnight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus White House warns of raising health costs in debate over surprise medical bills MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottOvernight Health Care: House panel advances legislation on surprise medical bills | Planned Parenthood, ACLU sue over Trump abortion coverage rule | CDC identifies 13th US patient with coronavirus House panel advances bipartisan surprise billing legislation despite divisions Ex-HHS chief threatens to vote 'no' on surprise medical billing measure MORE (Va.), as well as Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenGraham: Trump has 'all the legal authority in the world' to pardon Stone Overnight Health Care: Senate panel to hold hearing on US coronavirus response | Dems demand Trump withdraw religious provider rule | Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan backlash Democrats demand Trump administration withdraw religious provider rule MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Senate panel to hold hearing on US coronavirus response | Dems demand Trump withdraw religious provider rule | Trump Medicaid proposal sparks bipartisan backlash Democratic senators urge Trump administration to request emergency funding for coronavirus response Democrats demand Trump administration withdraw religious provider rule MORE (Wash.), signed the letter.

The Democrats said they remain concerned about the administration’s “flawed” economic analysis on the expansion of short-term plans, which they said appeared to significantly underestimate the number of individuals who would sign up for short-term plans, and the impact the proposal would have on premiums in the individual market.

“We believe allowing for renewal or extension of short-term policies for up to 36 months is contrary to law, and that the creation of an entirely unregulated parallel market competing against the market for Qualified Health Plans goes against Congressional intent in enacting the comprehensive consumer protections embodied in the Affordable Care Act,” they wrote.

The Trump administration in August finalized rules expanding non-ObamaCare health insurance plans in an effort to provide cheaper health insurance options.

Short-term health insurance plans can now last up to a year, lifting a limit of three months imposed under former President Obama. Insurers can renew the plans for up to three years. 

The administration touts these plans because they offer lower premiums for healthy people, but the plans do not need to follow ObamaCare rules, meaning they can charge people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums and leave out coverage of certain health services.

Democrats have labeled the plans as “junk” insurance and claim the move is part of the administration’s efforts to “sabotage” ObamaCare.

Insurers have also warned that the move will raise premiums for people remaining in ObamaCare plans, since some healthy people will be siphoned off into the new short-term plans.