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 PalloneLawmakers call on Trump to keep tech legal shield out of trade talks Hillicon Valley: FTC fines Facebook B in privacy settlement | Critics pan settlement as weak | Facebook also faces FTC antitrust probe | Senate panel advances 'deepfakes' legislation | House passes anti-robocall bill House passes anti-robocall bill 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 NealNY files motion to keep Trump tax returns lawsuit out of DC court Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax Senate Dems urge Mnuchin not to cut capital gains taxes MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDemocrats: Trump plan could jeopardize 500,000 children's free school meals Lawmakers, press hit the courts for charity tennis event House approves bill raising minimum wage to per hour MORE (Va.) and Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWyden blasts FEC Republicans for blocking probe into NRA over possible Russia donations Wyden calls for end to political ad targeting on Facebook, Google Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe Democrats demand Trump officials withdraw rule on transgender health The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate 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.