Legislation intended to deny access to affordable healthcare for millions of Americans was just rejected in the U.S. Senate. This mean-spirited legislation was introduced by Democrats and defeated by Republicans.
Every Democratic senator plus Republican Senator Collins of Maine voted to rescind new Trump administration rules that expand consumer protections in short-term limited duration (STLD) plans. By the narrowest of margins, Republicans defeated the bill, 50 – 50.
The Trump administration has been finding ways to improve ObamaCare (Trump Improvements in ObamaCare Helping Millions) but Democrats want to go back to the disastrous Obama administration rules. The Obama rule governing these plans limited them to three months. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners complained that, since people can’t reenroll in ObamaCare for nine months each year, the Obama rule exposed the sick to higher premiums and denied care.
Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the Cato Institute, explains:
“Suppose you purchased short-term coverage in January and were diagnosed with cancer in February. Under the Obama rule, you’d lose your coverage at the end of March. When you reapplied for a short-term plan, insurers would either quote a sky-high premium or (more likely) refuse to cover you. With ObamaCare’s next enrollment window nine months away, you could face nine months of expensive treatment with no insurance – if you got treated at all.”
The new Trump rules expand these STLD plans to twelve months and permit renewals for up to 36 months. This guarantees continuous coverage until the next ObamaCare enrollment period – and beyond. The rule permits insurers to offer stand-alone “renewal guarantees” that allow enrollees who become sick to keep paying low, healthy person premiums for as long as they stick with short-term plans. By keeping expensive patients out of ObamaCare’s risk pools, this lowers ObamaCare premiums for everyone.
The Democrats’ claim that short-term plans hurt patients with pre-existing conditions “doesn’t exactly make sense,” reports The Washington Post.
The plain truth is that Democrats do not want to fix ObamaCare. They refused to repeal it when Republicans tried – and they refuse to improve it with modifications that meet the needs of millions of Americans. They really want ObamaCare to fail – but not until they have the support they need to pass their beloved single-payer healthcare known as Medicare For All.
Surveys reveal the two subjects of highest interest in the upcoming mid-term elections are the economy and healthcare. Democrats are losing the economy issue with 4% GDP growth and record setting lows for unemployment. But they hope to win on healthcare. With legislative efforts like this one, they could easily lose the healthcare debate as well.