New guidance encourages support for junk plans that flout protections for people with pre-existing conditions
Murray: “The only thing more insistent than President Trump and Republicans’ false promises to protect pre-existing conditions, are their efforts to do the exact opposite.”
Murray: “President Trump lit a fire with his decision to offer junk plans that give insurance companies power to ignore protections for people with pre-existing conditions, now he’s pouring on the gasoline with this new guidance.”
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s new guidance which loosens guardrails for issuing section 1332 waivers and allows states to ignore certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that protect patients.
“The only thing more insistent than President Trump and Republicans’ false promises to protect pre-existing conditions are their sabotage efforts to do the exact opposite. This rule is yet another big step backwards that aims to loosen patient protections and important guardrails meant to ensure all families have access to quality, affordable health coverage. President Trump lit a fire with his decision to offer junk plans that give insurance companies power to ignore protections for people with pre-existing conditions, now he’s pouring on the gasoline with this new guidance.”
The ACA established the 1332 waiver program to give states more ways to offer their residents high-quality, affordable coverage. It requires that, in order to receive a waiver, the state will ensure that coverage is as comprehensive, as affordable, insures as many people, and is deficit neutral. Today, the Trump Administration announced that it is changing its interpretation of those four guardrails, intended to protect people with pre-existing conditions and people who need help affording health insurance. The Trump Administration will lower its standards for waivers and begin granting waivers as long as residents have access to insurance that meets Federal consumer protections and standards for affordability. They are also changing their interpretation of the law to count junk plans like association health plans (AHP) and short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans towards meeting the coverage guardrail, even if those plans don’t meet the comprehensiveness or affordability guardrails. Finally, this guidance eliminates the consideration of harms to specific sub-populations, such as low-income or high-health needs individuals. The bipartisan Murray-Alexander stabilization bill would have codified this protection for vulnerable sub-populations.