WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) released the following statement after the Trump Administration released a rule to undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions by expanding health care plans that do not have many vital consumer protections:
“This rule change is just the latest attempt by the Trump Administration to sabotage our health care system. Today’s move to expand ‘junk’ insurance plans will open up a path to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and could raise costs for everybody who purchases health care through the insurance marketplace, where the long-term result is likely to be higher premiums and fewer insurers. The President has been clear: the goal in expanding these health plans is not to make health care more affordable for more people, but to destroy the Affordable Care Act. Virginians who will pay the price as a result will know exactly who is to blame. There is no doubt that insurance costs are too high for small business owners and employees, so we once again call on the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress to work with Democrats to make health care more affordable, instead of raising costs for Virginia families.”
Today, the Trump Administration released its final regulation on association health plans (AHPs) expanding eligibility for these bare-boned plans, which do not have to provide the same level of minimum coverage as individual policies sold under the Affordable Care Act. According to experts, this move will undermine pre-existing conditions protections by making plans without vital consumer protections more readily available and drive up health care costs for other patients by shrinking the number of patients in other insurance pools, in turn destabilizing our country’s health care system.
Last month, Sens. Warner and Kaine sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar, urging the Administration to take swift action to stabilize the insurance marketplace.