(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statement in response to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement that the agency will allow states to apply for 1332 waivers, giving states the option to opt-out of adhering to key requirements of the Affordable Care Act that help to provide access to comprehensive, quality health care. As a part of this announcement, CMS is encouraging states to apply for waivers to allow for the use of premium tax credits for the purchase of health plans that do not meet the Affordable Care Act’s coverage and patient protection requirements. Health plans that do not meet these requirements include “short-term, limited-duration insurance plans,” also known as “junk plans.” Junk plans are able to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and exclude coverage for essential health benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care and substance use disorder services.
“Despite the American people’s support for the Affordable Care Act, the Trump administration continues to find ways to undermine the health care marketplace for consumers,” said Shaheen. “The policy announced today will promote a race to the bottom for coverage standards and protections that patients count on. It will incentivize consumers to drop health care plans that provide quality coverage and cover pre-existing conditions, and instead purchase junk insurance that does neither. We cannot go back to a broken health insurance system that makes it more expensive, if not impossible, to find coverage when you get sick. The Senate should come together in a bipartisan manner and reject the administration’s continued actions to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and instead work to tackle a fundamental concern for all of our constituents: rising health care costs.”