WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Doug Jones (D-AL) today introduced legislation to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans that don’t have to provide health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The House companion legislation passed as part of H.R. 987 on Thursday, 234-183. The No Junk Plans Act is cosponsored by the entire Senate Democratic caucus.
“The Trump Administration has gone to court to overturn the Affordable Care Act completely, including protections for people with pre-existing health conditions. They have also expanded the use of junk insurance plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and don’t have to cover essential services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits and maternity care,” said Senator Baldwin. “Anyone who says they support health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions should support this legislation. This is an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans to protect people’s access to quality, affordable health care when they need it most.”
“These junk plans don’t provide the coverage for pre-existing conditions and essential health services that people rely on,” said Senator Jones. “We should be increasing access to affordable, high-quality health care options – not expanding these junk plans that don’t provide the coverage that folks need.”
“The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress have been on a crusade to sabotage the American health care system,” said Senator Chris Murphy. “We should be expanding health care coverage to those who need it, not promoting these ‘junk plans’ that fail to cover essential health benefits like maternity care and mental health services, and deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Our bill protects consumers by preventing these sham health care plans from masquerading as comprehensive coverage.”
The nation’s top health care organizations, representing tens of thousands of the nation’s physicians, patients, medical students and other health experts, are voicing strong support for Baldwin and Jones’ legislation to overturn Trump’s expansion of junk plans. The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network recently looked at the impact of junk insurance plans in six states, including Wisconsin, and found that a woman diagnosed with breast cancer while enrolled in a junk plan would be forced to pay more than $40,000 out of pocket for her care. Under an ACA plan, that same woman’s out-of-pocket costs would be capped at $8,000. Not one of the plans reviewed included coverage for individuals with pre-existing health conditions.
Last October, Senator Baldwin forced a vote in the Senate on her discharge petition (S.J.Res.63) that would have blocked the Trump Administration’s rule to expand “junk insurance” plans. The measure was supported by 50 Senators, including one Republican. Ultimately, the petition did not receive the simple majority needed to pass the Senate and send it to the U.S. House of Representatives.
The Baldwin-Jones legislation is supported by AARP, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, AIDS United, American Lung Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association for Community Affiliated Plans, American Society of Addiction Medicine, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice, Mental Health America, Little Lobbyists, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Eating Disorders Coalition, Residential Eating Disorders Consortium, March of Dimes, Families USA, MS Society and WomenHeart.