WASHINGTON– Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) voted to void the Trump administration’s recent rule issuing waivers to allow “junk plans” that do not offer full protections for preexisting conditions and fail to provide adequate health insurance. The Trump administration’s rule allows using waivers under section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act to sabotage Americans’ health care and undermine the critical pre-existing condition protections that more than 130 million Americans rely on, including hundreds of thousands in New Mexico. Despite Udall, Heinrich, and Senate Democrats’ vote to safeguard protections for pre-existing conditions, Senate Republicans voted to preserve the Trump administration’s “junk plans” rule.
If the recent Trump administration rule is left in place, states would be allowed to greenlight junk insurance plans that do not fully protect people with pre-existing conditions, do not cover essential health benefits like prescription drugs and maternity care, and raise out-of-pocket costs on many American families. The rule also lets states promote junk plans that can charge people more if they have a pre-existing condition or refuse to offer coverage for specific benefits. These plans would destabilize our insurance markets and could limit insurance access and raise costs for millions of Americans.
New Mexico lawmakers and Governor Lujan Grisham acted earlier this year to pass important legislation preserving critical protections for New Mexicans’ access to comprehensive coverage, including those with pre-existing conditions.
“President Trump and Congressional Republicans have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act for years, without regard for the devastating impacts doing so would have on millions of American families. After they failed to repeal the ACA on the Senate floor, the Trump administration has continuously sabotaged health care for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” said Udall. “Enough is enough. It is time for the Senate to act to stop the sabotage so that people can’t be lured into junk health care plans that fail to cover the services they need when they get sick. A plan that doesn’t cover critical health services like prescription drugs and maternity coverage is not quality health care – it’s a fraud. I will continue to stand strong, along with my Democratic colleagues, against these blatant attacks on our health care system and will always defend New Mexicans’ quality, comprehensive coverage.”
“With this rule, the Trump administration is sending our country back to the days when insurance companies could discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions,” said Heinrich. “It is time for Republicans to recognize health care is a human right and start working on real solutions instead of dismantling our health care system with these junk plans and eliminating consumer protections. We should all work towards making quality health care accessible and affordable for all Americans – especially those living with pre-existing conditions."