Senate Democrats forced a vote to roll back the Trump administration’s new rule expanding the use of short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans on Wednesday.
Short-term, limited-duration plans are cheap alternatives to Obamacare marketplace plans.
But they lack key protections for Americans with preexisting conditions.
Democrats say the expanded use of short-term plans would harm people with preexisting conditions, while the GOP argue expanding the plans gave consumers more choice.
The vote ultimately failed, but bringing the preexisting condition issue to the forefront could still be a win for Democrats.
Senate Democrats failed to push through a key healthcare vote on Wednesday, but in defeat looked toward a boost in their midterm election prospects.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin used a procedure called a discharge petition to force a vote that would have repealed President Donald Trump’s plan to expand short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans — which Democrats called “junk” plans.
The petition ultimately failed in the Senate by a vote of 50-50, with GOP Sen. Susan Collins crossing party lines to vote with Democrats.
But Democrats may still have gotten a big win from the vote.
In the run up to the midterm elections, Democrats are hammering the GOP on healthcare — particularly protections for people with preexisting conditions. And the stark divide between the two parties in the petition vote could give add another wrinkle to the fight.
Preexisting condition protections vs. consumer choice
The discharge petition was designed to roll back a regulatory change from Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services. The rule change allowed the expanded use of short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans.
These plans are cheaper but also less generous in what they cover. Under the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, the use of short-term plans was limited to three months and were generally used by people as a bridge in case of a job loss.
The new Trump rule would allow Americans to stay on the short-term plans for up to 12 months and allow renewals for up to three years.
Health policy experts say the problem with these plans is that they do not have to abide by the ACA’s basic coverage rules:
This means that while insurers can’t deny people short-term plans based on a preexisting condition, they can charge more for people who are sick and possibly even price those people out of the market.
The short-term plans do not need to abide by the ACA’s essential health benefits rules, which force all insurance plans to offer baseline coverage like prescription drug payments and maternity care.
Experts warn that the short-term plans could pull healthier, younger people out of the ACA market. That would leave a more expensive pool of people in the Obamacare marketplace, potentially pushing up prices for everyone.
Democrats argued the expansion of these plans will undermine preexisting condition protections and harm sicker Americans.
Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat facing a tough reelection race in West Virginia, supported the petition.
“I am fighting to ensure that every West Virginian with preexisting conditions, and those who may someday have a pre-existing condition, cannot be denied healthcare coverage or …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Politics