On Senate Floor, Shaheen Urges Support for Resolution Blocking Trump Admin’s Expansion of Junk Health Insurance Plans, Admonishes Partisan Lawsuit to Strike Down ACA

October 29, 2019

Shaheen speaks out on junk plans

Shaheen speaks out in support of a resolution she helped to lead blocking the Trump administration’s expansion of junk health insurance plans during her floor remarks

(Washington, DC) – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke on the Senate floor in support of a Congressional Review Act resolution that she helped to lead that would block the Trump administration’s effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act through its expansion of junk health insurance plans that lack protections for people with pre-existing conditions and would increase costs for millions of Americans. On Wednesday, the Senate will vote on the CRA, which will overturn a Trump administration regulation that would allow taxpayer dollars to subsidize junk plan coverage. Shaheen also admonished the administration for its continued support of a partisan lawsuit that seeks to strike down the health care law, which could strip up to 133 million Americans of protections for pre-existing conditions, leave millions more Americans without health insurance, increase prescription drug costs for seniors, and put nearly 90,000 Granite Staters at risk of losing health care coverage.

The remarks can be viewed here.

Shaheen emphasized the dangers of the administration’s push for junk plans. “Allowing taxpayer dollars to subsidize junk plan coverage is not only dangerous for consumers who can be duped into purchasing junk plans, but it also poses a threat to the stability of the insurance market. By aggressively pushing enrollment in junk plans, this administration is seeking to split the insurance market into two: One market for younger and healthier individuals - and a second, much more expensive market for older individuals and people with chronic health conditions. This is not the outcome that people in New Hampshire and patients across this country want or deserve.”

Shaheen continued her remarks by denouncing the Department of Justice’s refusal to defend the ACA in federal court against a lawsuit seeking to strike down the health care law and making clear the devastating consequences such a result would have on the American people, particularly those with pre-existing conditions or who gained health insurance through the ACA. “These families could see their coverage ripped away if the Department of Justice gets its way in the courtroom.” Shaheen underscored the critical role the ACA has played in combating the substance use disorder epidemic and allowing seniors to save money from high prescription drug costs. 

Shaheen also highlighted her amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill that would prohibit the Justice Department from using federal funds—taxpayer dollars— to argue against the Affordable Care Act in court, and concluded, “At this important juncture, we should be sending a very clear message that the Department of Justice should defend the law of the land and that the administration’s promotion of junk plans should not continue. If we fail to do so, we’re going to be endangering vital access to care for millions – tens of millions of Americans.” 

Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate opposing the Trump administration’s push to expand junk plans. Last week, Shaheen sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to do more to prevent third-party web brokers from steering individuals towards junk health insurance plans. Shaheen has cosponsored and introduced the No Junk Plans Act and the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act, legislation that would overturn President Trump’s expansion of junk plans that do not have to protect health care coverage for Granite Staters and Americans with pre-existing conditions. Last year, Shaheen voted to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk plans and helped lead a group of 40 Senators in calling for the Trump administration to withdraw regulatory changes making it easier for states to promote junk plans and use taxpayer dollars to subsidize junk plans. In April, Shaheen also led all 47 Senate Democrats on a Senate resolution that would reverse the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recent decision to side with U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling to strike down the ACA’s health care protections that are enjoyed by millions of Americans. Shaheen has also led efforts to restore funding for Health Insurance Marketplace Open Enrollment advertising and outreach activities that the Trump administration cut by 90 percent in 2017.