States resisting Trump’s plan to expand access to cheaper health plans

Taken from The Washington Examiner, March 7, 2018
By Robert King

A group of 13 states is arguing against the Trump administration’s push to expand access to cheap, low-quality health plans that skirt Obamacare’s insurance regulations.

“The Trump administration’s rule is nothing more than an end run around the consumer protections enshrined in the Affordable Care Act, part of President Trump’s continued efforts to sabotage the ACA,” said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is leading the effort alongside Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The attorneys general on Wednesday released comments in opposition to a proposed federal rule to expand access to association health plans, under which small employers and individuals can band together to buy association health plans. But there were no indications the states would do anything beyond opposing the plan in their written remarks.

“With consistent attacks on the ACA from President Trump and the GOP, having a NJ Attorney General who is standing up to protect patients in New Jersey is a welcome relief. HPAE supports AG Grewal’s efforts opposing the Trump Administration attempts to undermine our healthcare system, gutting consumer protections and putting our community at risk of falling into medical debt.” – Ann Twomey, HPAE President

Schneiderman said the plans have a “long history of fraud and abuse — leaving consumers holding the bag when an unforeseen medical issue arises.”

The plans do not have to abide by Obamacare regulations that require plans sold on the law’s marketplaces to cover certain benefits like maternity care and mental health. Those rules also prohibit insurers from charging sicker people more money.

The Trump administration has said the rule will help give people an opportunity to buy cheaper health plans and avoid high premiums on the exchanges.

The administration also proposed a regulation that expands the duration of short-term plans from 90 days to nearly 12 months.

The other states joining New York and Massachusetts are California, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.