Cantwell Cosponsors Legislation to Overturn Expansion of Junk Insurance Plans

Junk insurance plans would raise premiums for older Americans, undermine coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions

Last week, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) cosponsored legislation — known as a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval — to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of “junk insurance” health care plans, which would raise premiums for older Americans and undermine coverage for millions of people with pre-existing conditions.  

“Under junk insurance plans, Washingtonians could face higher premiums and be denied coverage of essential benefits, including hospitalization, maternity care, preventative care, prescription drugs, laboratory care and substance abuse treatment,” Senator Cantwell said. “The American people have spoken loud and clear: they want their government to make health care more affordable and guarantee insurance protections – not continue with attempts to undermine coverage.” 

This summer, the Trump administration finalized regulations to expand the use of short-term health care plans to include “junk” insurance plans. In addition to reversing vital protections for consumers and increasing coverage costs for millions of older Americans and people with pre-existing conditions, a recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that among short-term health plans reviewed by the researchers in states, including Washington state, none of them cover maternity care. 

According to an analysis by the LA Times, “more than 98 percent — or 335 of 340 — of the healthcare groups that commented on the proposal to loosen restrictions on short-term health plans criticized it, in many cases warning that the rule could gravely hurt sick patients.” Commenters included patient and consumer advocates, physician groups, nursing associations, hospital groups, medical providers, insurance companies, and others. 

CRA resolutions of disapproval allows Congress to overturn regulatory actions taken by federal agencies. A simple majority vote in the Senate would pass the resolution and send it to the House of Representatives.