Newsroom

House and Senate Democrats Unveil Resolution To Save Pre-Existing Condition Protections From Harmful Trump Administration Rule Pushing Junk Plans

July 31, 2019

Washington, D.C. – U.S. House Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH) and U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) today led House and Senate Democrats in unveiling a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would roll back the 1332 waiver rule, another Trump administration effort to sabotage Americans’ health care and another attack on the 130 million Americans who rely on the critical pre-existing condition protections the administration is trying to eliminate. The rule, if left in place, would allow states to greenlight substandard, junk insurance plans that don’t fully protect people with pre-existing conditions, don’t cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs and maternity coverage, and raise costs on many American families. Under the Congressional Review Act, this resolution must be considered within 60 legislative days and can pass the Senate with the support of a simple majority of Senators.

“Americans are tired of political attacks on their health coverage, but the Trump Administration continues its efforts to limit access to health care, undermine protections for millions with preexisting conditions, and sabotage the Affordable Care Act,” said Representative Annie Kuster (D-NH). “We cannot return to the days when individuals living with preexisting conditions could be denied coverage or charged higher rates for care. I was proud to see the House pass my legislation – the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act – to reverse a Trump Administration rule promoting the sale of junk plans that endanger our health care system and don’t cover preexisting conditions. I’m pleased to join my colleagues in support of this commonsense measure, and I hope that my Republican colleagues in the Senate will support this resolution to strengthen preexisting conditions protections for their constituents and for all Americans.”

“It’s clear that the Trump Administration is determined to limit Americans’ access to health care and undermine protections for millions of people with pre-existing conditions,” said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). “The junk plans pushed forward by this Administration will inevitably disrupt our health care system, stripping basic coverage while increasing costs for Virginia families. Congress should protect coverage for vital services like prescription medicines, visits to the emergency room, and maternity care by overturning the Administration’s ill-advised plan to expand the use of junk plans. We have an opportunity here to send a message to the President that instead of attacking the Affordable Care Act, he must work with Congress on targeted, bipartisan fixes that will lower health care costs and expand access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage.”

“House Democrats have worked tirelessly to pass legislation to strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions and stop the Trump Administration’s relentless efforts to destroy them,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “Now, Leader McConnell and Senate Republicans will have to vote and show whether they will listen to the American people and join Democrats to protect people with pre-existing conditions, or whether they will continue to be full accomplices in gutting these life-saving protections for American families.”

“President Trump is proving yet again that we have to believe what he does, not what he says. That he can claim to care about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, while simultaneously rolling back pre-existing condition protections, reeks of the utmost hypocrisy,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). “I challenge my Republican colleagues who claim to support pre-existing condition protections to actually do something about it, and join us in voting in favor of our resolution to get rid of this harmful rule. When Senate Democrats force a vote on this resolution, we will see if Republicans finally put their money where their mouth is.”

“Talk is cheap. If Republicans truly care about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, they should join Democrats in voting to overturn this reckless Trump Administration rule that allows states to undermine lifesaving consumer protections,” said House Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ).

“Republicans are hiding their position on pre-existing condition protections from the American people,” said Senate Committee on Finance Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). “Over the last two years, Trump and his allies in Congress have perpetrated attack after attack on the idea that nobody should be discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition. The Section 1332 that I wrote was created so states could do better than the Affordable Care Act, but they can’t do worse. That means covering the same amount of people, without raising premiums or cutting benefits. The Trump rule tosses those principles out of a window. Democrats are united with the overwhelming majority of voters – a Republican vote against this resolution is a vote against pre-existing condition protections.”

“As usual, Democrats are leading the fight to protect Americans from health care plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions or essential health benefits,” said House Committee on Ways and Means Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA). “Republicans claim to support those protections too – this is their opportunity to prove it. Undoing this damaging Trump Administration rule will help families avoid paying higher prices for less care.”

“Our resolution offers a simple measure of who is trying to fight for patients with pre-existing conditions, and who is trying to score political points by throwing them under the bus,” said Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA). “People across the country are going to be watching closely whether Republicans do the right thing and join Democrats to protect patients and families.”

“There is no evidence-based rationale for expanding access to junk insurance plans. The administration’s efforts to erode protections for Americans with preexisting conditions will lead to higher costs and fewer protections for individuals and families across the country,” said House Committee on Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA). “Democrats are resolute in our commitment to stand up for Americans’ access to quality and affordable health care.”

“For the hundreds of millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions like arthritis, cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, or pregnancy, this administration does not support protecting your right to affordable health insurance. The 1332 Waiver Guidance is quite possibly the most blatant example of this administration’s lack of support of protections for those with pre-existing conditions,” said Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD). “Congress must act to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions from being left with higher out-of-pocket costs for less services, which can put their health in jeopardy.”

“The Trump administration has already destabilized the insurance markets by supporting litigation to strike down the Affordable Care Act in its entirety, putting insurance coverage for 90,000 Granite Staters and 20 million Americans at risk. On top of that, this administration has put forward waiver rules to continue to sabotage the ACA and further drive up health care costs for millions of Americans. But we’re not going to stand by without a fight,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). “Today we’re introducing this Congressional Review Act resolution to block the Trump administration from sabotaging the ACA through these state waivers. We know that these waivers could substantially increase costs for comprehensive coverage and leave many people with pre-existing conditions with no affordable options. We cannot let that happen. I’ll stand ready with Senator Warner and my colleagues to defend the insurance protections that patients across this country rely upon.”

“President Trump is in court right now supporting a lawsuit that would overturn the Affordable Care Act completely, taking away protections for people with pre-existing health conditions,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI). “He has also opened the door to taxpayer subsidies for junk insurance plans that don’t have to cover essential health care and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. If Senate Republicans support guaranteed protections for people with pre-existing then they will allow a vote on this resolution and vote for it. If they object, then their promises will be exposed for what they are – broken.”

“This new rule is the latest in a series of efforts by this administration to sabotage the American health care system,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT). “Far too many people in Connecticut are scared of going back to the days before the Affordable Care Act when insurance companies could jack up your rates or deny you coverage simply for having a pre-existing condition. If my Republicans colleagues care about helping people with pre-existing conditions then they will join us in voting for this resolution to get rid of this disastrous rule.”

All 47 Senate Democrats cosponsored the resolution: Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Senator Angus King (I-ME), Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator Tina Smith (D-MN), Senator Doug Jones (D-AL), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and Senator Jacky Rosen (D-NV).

The following organizations support the resolution: National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Heart Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Pulmonary Hypertension Association, Mended Little Hearts, Hemophilia Federation of America, Chronic Disease Coalition, American Diabetes Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, National Organization for Rare Disorders, WomenHeart: the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, Susan G. Komen, Chron’s & Colitis Foundation, COPD Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Hemophilia Foundation, Arthritis Foundation, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, National Psoriasis Foundation, Alpha-1 Foundation, ALS Association, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Immune Deficiency Foundation, March of Dimes, American Liver Foundation, National Health Council, National Patient Advocate Foundation, Protect Our Care, and the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.