August 29, 2018

Senators Hassan, Shaheen Join in Introducing Legislation to Overturn the Expansion of Junk Insurance Plans

Resolution Would Force a Senate Vote on the Trump Administration’s Rule Expanding Junk Insurance Plans that Don’t Have to Provide Coverage for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

WASHINGTON – Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen today joined a number of their colleagues in introducing new legislation to overturn the Trump Administration’s final “junk insurance” plan rule, which would further destabilize health insurance markets and undermine important consumer protections, including for people with pre-existing conditions.

The resolution, which is cosponsored by 30 Senators, would rescind the Trump Administration’s dangerous rule expanding “junk insurance” plans.

“By expanding junk insurance plans, the Trump Administration is once again taking steps to increase health care costs and strip away critical consumer protections for Granite Stater and Americans, including those with pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or asthma,” Senator Hassan said. “I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in working to stop this latest sabotage attempt from the Trump Administration on the health and well-being of hard-working people in New Hampshire and across the country.”

“American families need quality, affordable health care, not junk plans that would lead to higher premiums and threaten the coverage of millions of individuals with pre-existing conditions,” said Senator Shaheen. “The expansion of junk plans will hurt Americans who depend on stable health care by luring away younger and healthier individuals from comprehensive coverage and then raising the premium costs of older individuals and patients with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, and pregnancy. This legislation will overturn the administration’s efforts to sabotage our health care system and protect Americans from higher premiums and mediocre health plans that can exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions and fail to cover vital benefits like maternity care and substance use disorder treatment. I am focused on stabilizing the health care marketplace and I will continue to work on bipartisan efforts to ensure access to quality health care for all Americans.”

According to an analysis by the LA Times, “more than 98% — or 335 of 340 — of the healthcare groups that commented on the proposal to loosen restrictions on short-term health plans criticized it, in many cases warning that the rule could gravely hurt sick patients.” This included patient and consumer advocates, physician groups, nursing associations, hospital groups, medical providers, insurance companies and more. 

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACSCAN) said it “poses a serious threat to cancer patients’ ability to access quality, affordable health coverage.” ACSCAN also said the Trump administration’s rule “will likely leave older and sicker Americans in the individual insurance marketplace with few, if any, affordable health coverage choices” and that “patients living with serious conditions will be left paying more for the coverage they need if they can afford coverage at all.”

The resolution has the support needed to file a discharge petition to force a vote under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans. Congressional Review Act disapproval resolutions that obtain the support of 30 Senators on a discharge petition, and 218 members in the House, allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions taken by federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers. 

Senator Hassan has spoken out against the Trump Administration’s rule to expand junk health insurance plans, and sent a letter with Senator Shaheen and 45 other colleagues in April calling on the Trump Administration to halt expansion of these health insurance plans. Senator Hassan also cosponsored the Fair Care Act, which would block the rule and guarantee protections for people with pre-existing conditions. 

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