Ranking Member Scott Commends Biden Administration for Protecting Access to Affordable Health Care

WASHINGTON – Ranking Member Scott issued the following statement after the Biden Administration announced a proposed rule that would reverse a Trump-era rule that made it harder for workers and families to get affordable, high-quality health insurance.   

“I applaud the Biden Administration for today’s proposal to rescind the previous Administration’s ‘Association Health Plan’ (AHP) rule and protect consumers from health benefit arrangements that seek to evade important requirements of federal and state law. Small businesses and self-employed people deserve access to affordable health care, which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides.

“Regrettably, President Trump directed federal agencies to take steps to expand non-traditional forms of health coverage that do not comply with the core consumer protections of the ACA and other laws.  One of their actions allowed a group or association of employers to sponsor a single health plan that does not have to provide essential health benefits under the ACA, like maternity care. This rule was blocked by a federal court, which described the Trump Administration’s efforts as ‘clearly an end-run around the ACA.’ 

“AHPs undermine the core promise of the ACA—access to affordable health care for all. AHPs may provide lower costs to some enrollees, but they do so by skimping on benefits and increasing costs for everybody else.

“Specifically, the rescinded rule would have expanded enrollment in association plans that cherry-pick low-risk, young individuals for a pool separate from the ACA Marketplace. AHPs could 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. Association plans also evade essential health benefits and other consumer protections under state and federal law.

“If healthy, low-risk individuals can leave the Affordable Care Act Marketplace risk pool, join a separate association, and pay lower rates, those who did not get into these plans will—on average—be forced to pay higher premiums.

“By rescinding this rule, the Biden Administration’s proposal will help resolve ambiguity and ensure consumers are protected from health plans that circumvent consumer protection laws.”

Ranking Member Scott and Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Mark DeSaulnier called on the Department of Labor to rescind the Trump-era rule in February of this year. Read the full text of the letter here.


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