August 30, 2018
BOOTHBAY, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) joined a group of his colleagues to introduce legislation that would overturn the administration’s final “junk insurance” plan rule, which would expand the number of insurance plans that are not required to provide health care coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The rule has been overwhelmingly opposed by healthcare groups, including patient and consumer advocates, physician groups, nursing associations, hospital groups, medical providers, insurance companies and more; according to an analysis by the LA Times, 98% of healthcare groups who have issued public comments on the proposal were against the new rule. A study conducted by the Urban Institute indicated that the expansion of junk plans, combined with the loss of the individual mandate, would cause healthcare premiums in Maine to rise by 15.9% in 2019.
“Junk insurance is exactly what it sounds like, and there’s no reason that we should be putting more Americans on insurance plans that don’t protect them,” said Senator King. “I’ve met with Maine families, healthcare providers, advocates, and people living with pre-existing conditions, and they’ve all been clear – this rule is bad for their health. These are the people I’m thinking about while I’m working in the Senate, and I’ll keep fighting on their behalf to ensure that our healthcare system works for them.”
Now that the resolution has been introduced with 30 cosponsors, the next step will be to file a discharge petition to force a vote under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) on a resolution from Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to overturn the expansion of junk insurance plans. Congressional Review Act disapproval resolutions that obtain the support of 30 Senators on a discharge petition, and 218 members in the House, allow Congress to overturn regulatory actions taken by federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers.
Senator King has been outspoken in opposition to Administration moves and legislative proposals that seek to undermine the Affordable Care Act, and is a cosponsor of a resolution that would authorize the Senate Legal Counsel to intervene in the legal case challenging the constitutionality of the ACA’s provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Earlier this month, he met with young Maine people living with pre-existing conditions and their parents to discuss the importance of these protections to their continued medical care. Last month, he published a post on Medium highlighting the Administration’s efforts to weaken the ACA. In June, he hosted a conversation with Maine people with pre-existing conditions, health care advocates and medical professionals focused on the importance of these protections, and released a video on his social media accounts criticizing the DOJ’s “downright cruel” decision. Last October, he spoke on the Senate floor in advance of ACA Open Enrollment Period regarding the “sabotage” efforts underway from the Administration.
At the same time, Senator King has pursued agreements that would improve the Affordable Care Act to protect coverage for the millions who rely on it for affordable health care, and has developed several proposals to make common sense fixes to the legislation. During the health care debate last summer, Senator King outlined a roadmap of health care priorities to stabilize the health care marketplace and lower the underlying costs of treatment and health coverage for people in Maine and across the country.
Text of the resolution is available here.