October 10, 2018
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) voted in favor of 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 legislation, which Senator King cosponsored, fell one vote short of the 51 votes needed for passage.
“I’ve met with Maine people with pre-existing conditions, medical professionals, and advocates across the state, and not a single one of them has told me that they want insurance plans that cover less of their medical needs. So why are we making these junk plans more common?” said Senator King. “It’s simply wrong that we would expand the use of these junk plans, because they don’t help Maine people – they are part of the problem, not part of the solution. The failure of today’s vote is extremely disappointing, but it’s far from the end of this fight, and I’ll keep working as hard as I can to make sure that our healthcare system works for all Maine people.”
The administration’s rule expanding these plans 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.
Senator King has been outspoken in opposition to administration moves and legislative proposals that seek to undermine the Affordable Care Act, and has met with Maine people around the state to discuss the ACA’s importance to their lives. Earlier this week, he met with Maine people in recovery in Brewer to discuss the importance of ACA protections for those with pre-existing conditions for those who have struggled with substance use disorders. Last month, he spoke at the Protect Our Care rally in Portland and held a conversation in Damariscotta on the importance of healthcare protections to Maine people who work in high risk industries. Also in September, Senator King met with seniors in Kennebunk to discuss the high cost of healthcare services in prescription drugs. In August, Senator King met with Maine families on the impact of insurance protections for children living with pre-existing conditions, and in June he spoke with a panel of Maine people with pre-existing conditions, healthcare advocates and medical professionals in South Portland, following Department of Justice’s decision not to defend the guarantee of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
In July, Senator King cosponsored 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. Also in July, he published a post on Medium highlighting the administration’s efforts to weaken the ACA. At the end of June, Senator King spoke twice Senate floor about the impact of ACA sabotage on Maine people and to honor the 53rdanniversary of Medicare and Medicaid. Senator King has also 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.