Committee Health Leaders Applaud Biden Proposal to Reverse Trump-era Sabotage of the ACA

WASHINGTON – Education and the Workforce Committee Ranking Member Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee Ranking Member Mark DeSaulnier (CA-10) applaud the Biden Administration’s proposal to reverse a Trump-era rule that made it harder for workers and families to get affordable, high-quality health insurance.

By rescinding the Trump-era “Association Health Plan” (AHP) rule, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposal protects consumers from health benefit arrangements that raise costs throughout the health insurance market by evading important requirements of federal and state law, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The Proposed Rule will greatly benefit consumers by reversing the harmful actions previously taken by the Trump Administration to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  We applaud the Department for the approach it has taken in the Proposed Rule, which would fully rescind the prior rulemaking and provide necessary clarity for both employers and consumers,” the Ranking Members wrote.

The Trump-era rule sought to expand enrollment in AHPs, which cherry-pick young, low-risk individuals for a pool separate from the ACA Marketplace. AHPs can also exclude certain categories of coverage, such as maternity care, mental health care, or substance use disorder treatment, to dissuade certain groups or individuals from enrolling. By evading consumer protections and offering less comprehensive coverage, AHPs offer the false promise of lower premiums while shifting costs to people left in the traditional health insurance market.  The Trump-era rule was ultimately blocked by a federal court.

The Ranking Members continued, “The [Trump Administration’s] 2018 Final Rule would have been harmful to millions of consumers, including people enrolled in Association Health Plans (AHPs) as well as those left behind in the traditional insurance market.  AHPs established under the 2018 Final Rule would have been exempt from vital consumer protections, including the ACA’s requirement to provide coverage of Essential Health Benefits, such as maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs, and mental health and substance use disorder care.”

The Ranking Members also urged DOL to consider future steps to protect consumers from non-traditional forms of health coverage that do not comply with core consumer protections under the ACA.

Read the full text of the letter here.


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