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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 PalloneDems eye ambitious agenda if House flips Hillicon Valley: Facebook rift over exec's support for Kavanaugh | Dem worried about Russian trolls jumping into Kavanaugh debate | China pushes back on Pence House Democrat questions big tech on possible foreign influence in Kavanaugh debate 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 NealTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Key Democrat will ask for Trump tax returns if House flips Better health outcomes at lower costs is a win that everyone can get behind MORE (Mass.) and Bobby ScottRobert (Bobby) Cortez ScottDems want to hold officials’ feet to the fire on ObamaCare Healthy business vs healthy people — how will this administration address the two? Washington turns focus to child nutrition MORE (Va.) and Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenUS to open trade talks with Japan, EU, UK Poll: Dem incumbent holds 5-point lead in Oregon governor's race Trump, Feinstein feud intensifies over appeals court nominees MORE (Ore.) and Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers 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.