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, Senate announce agreement on anti-robocall bill Overnight Health Care: Trump officials making changes to drug pricing proposal | House panel advances flavored e-cig ban | Senators press FDA tobacco chief on vaping ban House panel advances flavored e-cigarette ban MORE (N.J.), Richard NealRichard Edmund NealKrystal Ball accuses Democrats of having 'zero moral authority' amid impeachment inquiry House Democrats object to giving Trump notice before seeking NY tax returns On The Money: Trump appeals to Supreme Court to keep tax returns from NY prosecutors | Pelosi says deal on new NAFTA 'imminent' | Mnuchin downplays shutdown threat | Trump hits Fed after Walmart boasts strong earnings MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottEducation Department finalizes new regulations to relax college-accreditation requirements Trump admin gave over million in aid to students at unaccredited for-profit colleges CBO: Pelosi bill to lower drug prices saves Medicare 5 billion MORE (Va.), as well as Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDemocratic senators introduce bill to block funding for border wall live stream Booker, Sanders propose new federal agency to control drug prices Hillicon Valley: Amazon to challenge Pentagon cloud contract in court | State antitrust investigation into Google expands | Intel agencies no longer collecting location data without warrant MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurraySenators press FDA tobacco chief on status of vaping ban Retirement bill blocked in Senate amid fight over amendments Senate Democrats call on White House to abandon plan to collect DNA from migrants 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.