Durbin, Duckworth Democratic Colleagues File Paperwork To Force Senate Vote To Reserve Harmful Trump Administration Rule That Rolls Back Pre-Existing Condition Protections

Senate Democrats Take Steps Necessary To Protect Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

WASHINGTON U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) joined Senate Democrats, led by Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), in filing paperwork that will force a Senate vote to protect people with pre-existing conditions from yet another attempt by the Trump Administration to gut the Affordable Care Act.  Senate Democrats filed a discharge petition on a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would roll back President Trump’s 1332 waiver rule—a rule which would sabotage Americans’ health care and undermine the critical pre-existing condition protections that 130 million Americans rely on, including approximately five million in Illinois.

The discharge petition is a necessary step towards forcing a vote under the CRA to reverse the Trump Administration’s harmful rule. The rule, if left in place, would allow states to greenlight substandard, 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 costs on many American families. Under these plans, insurance companies can charge people more if they have a pre-existing condition, can deny specific benefits – or, they can deny them coverage altogether.

“With this Administration’s consistent efforts to dismantle and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, President Trump’s claim that he cares about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions is nothing more than empty rhetoric.  Now the President is using executive action to promote ‘junk plans’ –  which don’t cover basic health care services like emergency room visits and prescription drugs, and which certainly don’t protect people with pre-existing conditions,” said Durbin. “I hope my Republican colleagues, who say they support safeguards for pre-existing conditions, join us in this effort to push back against the President’s harmful plans and stand with the American people.”

“The expansion of junk insurance plans is yet another reminder that the Trump Administration is deliberately sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and making it harder for Illinoisans to access quality, affordable healthcare,” Duckworth said.  “I’ll keep working with my colleagues on this important effort to protect access to prescription drugs and other critical health benefits like maternity, preventive and mental health care so that every Illinoisan, including those like me who have pre-existing conditions, has the opportunity to access comprehensive health coverage for themselves and their families.”    

Disapproval resolutions under the Congressional Review Act exemplify Congress’ authority to review and overturn rules implemented by the executive branch. Once a rule is finalized, the Congressional Review Act provides Congress 60 legislative days to review and, if they so choose, vote to overturn it. Unlike other legislation on the Senate floor, a disapproval resolution under the Congressional Review Act only needs a simple majority to pass and can be placed on the Senate calendar and scheduled for a vote with 30 members’ signatures. As a result of the petition filed, Senators will vote on overturning the rule before the close of the 60 legislative-day window.