Shaheen Statement on Trump Administration’s Latest Effort to Sabotage the Affordable Care Act

June 19, 2018

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s latest assault on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through a new rule by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Treasury Department to implement changes that expand availability of “association health plans,” which are skimpy health care plans that do not need to meet ACA patient protection rules and coverage requirements for essential health benefits, such as maternity care and substance misuse treatment. 

“When President Trump tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the American people made their voices heard loud and clear,” said Shaheen. “Despite the wishes of the American public, President Trump continues to work to dismantle the health care law. This latest attack would further destabilize the marketplace by splitting it in two, one for those who are younger and healthier and another for those who are older and sicker. This policy will increase already skyrocketing premiums for Americans who need comprehensive health benefits, including maternity care and treatment for substance misuse disorder. The Trump administration needs to stop playing political games with health care and work in good faith with Congress to stabilize the marketplace and lower premiums.”

For the first time, the ACA prohibited health insurance companies from charging higher premiums for women, limited the ability of insurers to charge higher premiums based on age, and made certain that insurers provide coverage for ten categories of essential health benefits, including maternity care and substance misuse and mental health treatment. This final rule will unwind those fundamental patient protections by allowing association health plans to be exempt from those requirements.

Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate that would provide marketplace stability by permanently funding and increasing eligibility for cost-sharing reduction payments. Her bill, the Marketplace Certainty Act, would make cost-sharing reduction payments permanent and expand eligibility to more working Americans. Senator Shaheen also helped introduce the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to create a permanent reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market, similar to the successful programs used to lower premiums and spur competition in the Medicare Part D program. Shaheen also joined a bipartisan group of senators in support of the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017, which would lower premiums and improve quality of care for patients and families across the nation.