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 PalloneThe Year Ahead: Push for privacy bill gains new momentum Incoming Dem chairman open to hearing on 'Medicare for all' The Year Ahead: Drug pricing efforts to test bipartisanship 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 NealPelosi sees fierce resistance from White House if Dems seek Trump’s tax returns House Democrats poised to set a dangerous precedent with president’s tax returns Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by Amgen — House passes bill to stop drug companies overcharging Medicaid | Incoming Dem chairman open to 'Medicare For All' hearings | Bill to reduce maternal mortality rates passes House MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottOvernight Health Care: House set to vote on bill targeting drug companies for overcharging Medicaid | Dems press Trump officials on pre-existing conditions | Tobacco giant invests .8B in Canadian marijuana grower A new Congress, time for a new focus on public education Top Dems press Trump officials for answers on pre-existing conditions MORE (Va.) and Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley — Presented by AT&T — New momentum for privacy legislation | YouTube purges spam videos | Apple plans B Austin campus | Iranian hackers targeted Treasury officials | FEC to let lawmakers use campaign funds for cyber FEC votes to allow lawmakers to use campaign funds for personal cybersecurity Senate votes to overturn IRS guidance limiting donor disclosure MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayVA senior adviser forced out amid concerns that he was 'getting paid to sit on his couch': report The Year Ahead: Drug pricing efforts to test bipartisanship Overnight Health Care: Manchin pitched Trump on reviving bipartisan ObamaCare fix | 4 in 10 don’t plan to get flu shots | Survey finds more than a quarter have pre-existing conditions 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.