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.

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Lawmakers said they have yet to receive all of the information and answers they requested. Democratic Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneHouse Democrats announce bill to rein in tech algorithms House Democrats ramp up probe of FDA approval of Alzheimer's drug Intercept bureau chief: Democrats dropping support of Medicare for All could threaten bill's momentum MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealPelosi: Democrats within striking distance of deal The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Manchin, Sanders in budget feud; Biden still upbeat Democratic frustration with Sinema rises MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottPandemic leads to sharp drop in school enrollment Democratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse Watchdog: 7 members of Congress allegedly failed to disclose stock trades MORE (Va.), as well as Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenClimate advocates turn sights on Wall Street Democrats scramble to reach deal on taxes Pelosi open to scrapping key components in spending package MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised Senate Democrats ditch Hyde amendment for first time in decades 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.