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Democratic Health Leaders Tell Trump to End Attacks on Americans' Health Care

Nov 16, 2018
Press Release
Following Administration’s Perversion of ACA Provision Designed to Help States Lower Costs, Democrats in House and Senate Say Change Undermines Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions

Democratic leaders on health care committees in the House and Senate today called on the Trump Administration to cease their continued attacks on affordable, comprehensive health care for Americans, following a proposed change to Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act that would further open the door to junk insurance plans and undermine health care for people with pre-existing conditions.

“We write to express our serious concerns that the Administration’s new guidance on Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act is inconsistent with congressional intent, will raise costs for consumers, and will undermine protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions,” the members wrote. “We urge you to rescind this guidance and work with stakeholders and Congress to give states the flexibility to innovate without raising costs or harming people with pre-existing conditions who need quality, affordable health care the most.” 

The letter, sent to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin comes as open enrollment for 2019 is underway and Americans attempt to shop for comprehensive, ACA-compliant plans while the Trump Administration is pushing people to buy junk insurance plans instead.

The letter was signed by Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray, D-Wash., Senate Aging Committee Ranking Member Robert P. Casey, D-Penn., House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., House Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal, D-Mass., and House Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott, D-Va.

Section 1332 was included in the ACA to give states the ability to build on the strong foundation created by the ACA, not to allow them to undermine core consumer protections that families count on today.

“Congress enacted Section 1332 of the ACA to provide states with the flexibility to improve coverage, affordability, and comprehensiveness of benefits,” the members continued. “Under the Administration’s new 2018 guidance, the Secretary may approve waivers that will result in less coverage, fewer protections, and higher costs for older, sicker, and low-income residents.”

The full letter can be found here.

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