This Wednesday, the Senate could vote on a Joint Resolution (S.J. Res. 63) providing for congressional disapproval of the rule issued by the Trump administration related to “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance.” Sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), S.J. Res. 63 would use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn a new Trump era rule that would expand the availability of affordable short-term, limited duration health plans to one year. Just before leaving office, President Obama reduced these Obamacare-free plans to 90 days in an effort to compel individuals on the individual market to purchase Obamacare.
From 2013-2017, insurance premiums increased by more than double in the individual market and from 2013-2018, the number of insurers declined from 395 to 181. As Obamacare continues to cause health insurance premiums to increase and drive out choice and competition, short-term, limited duration plans offer affordable coverage to Americans who have been priced out of the individual marketplace. By expanding these plans to one year, the Trump administration has given millions of Americans access to affordable health insurance.
According to Marie Fishpaw, director of domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation:
“The Trump administration is right to provide more options to Americans who have suffered under Obamacare and, in many cases, been priced out of health coverage. Short-term, limited duration health plans offer one important alternative for people seeking coverage. Congress should preserve and expand choices, not restrict them.”
Senate Democrats are now attacking these affordable plans as “junk insurance” in an effort to limit all potential off-ramps from Obamacare and artificially prop it up. But, if Democrats were serious about increasing health insurance coverage to more Americans and not protecting a failing law, they would support the Trump administration’s efforts to expand short-term plans to one year. The Americans who stand to benefit the most under the new Trump rule are those who lack access to employer-based coverage and cannot afford Obamacare. These are some of the most vulnerable individuals when it comes to lacking access to health insurance.
While Congress should vote to protect the Trump administration’s actions on short-term plans, they must also work to address the root cause of the problem – Obamacare. Real health reform, like the ideas laid out in the Health Care Choices Proposal, is a good starting place for Congress to act.