Legislation Senators Collins and Alexander introduced earlier this year would have lowered insurance premiums and expanded coverage while protecting those with pre-existing conditions
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Senate Aging Committee and a member of the Health Committee, voted to block a rule that expands the duration of short-term health insurance plans, which could deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
“Short-Term Limited Duration plans do not provide protections for enrollees who suffer from pre-existing conditions,” said Senator Collins. “As I have often emphasized, it is essential that individuals who suffer from pre-existing conditions are covered. At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that many individuals lack an affordable health insurance option. The underlying flaw in the Affordable Care Act is that it does not provide affordable coverage. But I believe this flaw can be addressed without jeopardizing protections for individuals with preexisting conditions. In fact, earlier this year, I offered legislation with my good friend Lamar Alexander that would have done exactly that. Health care experts at Oliver Wyman projected that our bill would have lowered individual health insurance premiums in the individual market by as much as 40 percent compared to what people would otherwise pay, while also expanding coverage to an additional 3.2 million individuals. Unfortunately – and incredibly – when we tried to advance this legislation, the Democratic leaders blocked it.”
“There is a role for Short-Term Limited Duration plans, and I believe that we should work together to address these real-world situations,” Senator Collins continued. “I am disappointed that we again find ourselves in an ‘all or nothing, take it or leave it’ situation. I can only hope that some of the energy now stoking partisan animosity will be redirected soon toward finding health care solutions that work for all Americans.”
Last month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a new rule allowing Short-Term Limited Duration plans to be offered for up to 12 months. The CRA Resolution Senator Collins voted for today would reinstate a 2016 rule by the Obama Administration limiting these plans to three months.
In 2016, the Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that 27 percent of American adults under age 65 have preexisting conditions that would leave them uninsurable in the individual market. More recently, 57 percent of Americans responding to a poll said that they, or someone in their household, suffers from a pre-existing condition. These numbers include 590,000 Mainers, roughly 45 percent of the state’s population.
In June of this year, Senator Collins wrote a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, urging him to reconsider his decision not to defend provisions protecting individuals with preexisting conditions in ongoing litigation challenging the Affordable Care Act.
Additionally, Senator Collins authored legislation with Senator Lamar Alexander last year that would have lowered individual health insurance premiums in the individual market by as much as 40 percent compared to what people would otherwise pay, while also expanding coverage to an additional 3.2 million individuals. Democratic leaders objected and blocked a vote on this bill earlier this year.