Durbin Statement On Senate Republicans Voting Against Protecting Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today released the following statement after Senate Republicans voted against a resolution to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions by limiting the proliferation of “junk plans” – short-term insurance plans that are allowed to discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions.  Durbin, along with every Senate Democrat, was a cosponsor of the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.

“With their consistent efforts to dismantle and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, President Trump’s and Senate Republican’s claims that they care about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions are 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.”

“My Republican colleagues, who say they support safeguards for pre-existing conditions, had a chance today to push back against the President’s harmful plans and stand with the American people.  Instead, they choose to side with the President once again.”

The Trump Administration recently issued a rule that allows states to ignore federal consumer protections and use taxpayer dollars to subsidize junk insurance plans that cover less and cost more.  These junk plans can exclude coverage of essential benefits like prescription drugs, emergency room visits, maternity care, or mental health care.  Additionally, under this rule, states can give insurance companies the green light to discriminate against Americans with pre-existing conditions by increasing costs, limiting coverage, or denying coverage altogether.

Earlier this month, Durbin, along with 39 other Senators, wrote a letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma urging them to limit the spread of short-term junk plans and safeguard Affordable Care Act protections that increase access to affordable and comprehensive health insurance, and forbid insurance companies from discriminating against individuals with pre-existing conditions.