WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV), a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), joined 39 of her Senate colleagues in sending a letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to protect individuals with preexisting conditions by limiting the proliferation of “junk plans” – short-term insurance plans that can exclude coverage for essential benefits and provide no protections for Americans with preexisting conditions.
“We have heard from patients, physicians, independent experts, and other health care stakeholders that individuals with preexisting conditions are being negatively impacted by your Administration’s actions. More recently, we have seen the real world negative impact on individuals who have unknowingly enrolled in these deceptively marketed junk plans,” wrote the Senators. “We have worked tirelessly to protect individuals with preexisting conditions from barriers to coverage. We urge you to do the same, including by limiting the proliferation of short-term junk plans and ensuring that consumers in every state are protected by federal consumer protections for people with preexisting conditions.”
Full text of the letter can be found here.
BACKGROUND: Short-term health insurance plans are called “junk plans” because they may exclude many types of care. Patients may purchase them thinking they have quality insurance, only to find out once they are in the hospital and in need of care that they have been paying for something with very little or no coverage for their health care needs. The Obama Administration limited short-term plans to 3 months so they would serve as a bridge plan between comprehensive coverage plans. The Trump Administration made a new rule that expanded access to these plans, allowing consumers to have them for up to 36 months (including renewals).
As her first action in the Senate, Rosen helped introduce a resolution that would authorize Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in Texas v. United States – a pending lawsuit in federal court, on behalf of the U.S. Senate, in order to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) coverage protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
In May, Senator Rosen co-sponsored legislation to block implementation of the Trump Administration’s rule expanding short-term health insurance plans that do not include protections for pre-existing conditions or provide essential health benefits.
In the House, then-Congresswoman Rosen was a co-sponsor of Congresswoman Castor’s resolution (H.J.Res. 140) that would have overturned the Trump Administration’s rule on junk health insurance plans.
Rosen also led the House resolution last Congress to defend the constitutionality of the ACA in court. The resolution was co-sponsored by the Ranking Members of all House committees of jurisdiction in addition to Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. The resolution had nearly 190 co-sponsors by the end of the 115th Congress.