McCaskill Votes to Prevent Expansion of ‘Junk’ Healthcare Plans that Can Exclude Preexisting Conditions, Raise Costs for Seniors

Short-term ‘junk’ plans threaten access to quality, affordable care for Missourians—especially those with preexisting conditions

WASHINGTON – Continuing her work to protect the millions of Missourians with preexisting conditions, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today voted to repeal a new Administration rule that expands previously limited short-term “junk” health insurance plans from 3 to 12 months, or beyond. These bare-bones plans allow insurance companies to eliminate coverage of preexisting conditions and to raise prices for older Missourians.

“This partisan rule extending these plans opens the door for insurance companies to return to the days of discriminating against Missourians with preexisting conditions and charging seniors even more—and we can’t go back there,” McCaskill said. “Missourians know that actions speak louder than words, and these Republican actions to sabotage the healthcare Missourians rely on—rather than both sides working together to lower costs and preserve the critical consumer protections I’ve fought for—have been loud and clear.”

The Administration’s short-term plans rule expanded the three month limited-duration insurance plans intended to fill temporary gaps in coverage to 12 month plans or beyond, creating a permanent market for these bare-bones plans that can exclude basic health benefits including hospitalization, prescription drugs, maternity care, substance abuse treatment, and allow insurance companies to skirt the requirement that they cover preexisting conditions. An overwhelming majority of healthcare groups and patient and consumer advocates opposed this expansion, citing the grave harm it could do to sick patients.

Maintaining protections for people with preexisting conditions has been a top priority for McCaskill in the Senate. At a recent Senate hearing focused on problems in the healthcare system, McCaskill called out continued attempts by the Trump Administration, Republican congressional leadership, and Republican Attorneys General to roll back protections for people with preexisting conditions and raise health insurance costs for millions of Missourians. Continuing those efforts, McCaskill led a group of colleagues in announcing a proposal to defend the constitutionality of preexisting condition protections against the Republican lawsuit.

At a Senate hearing in June, McCaskill criticized Republican efforts to undermine protections on preexisting conditions and raise health insurance costs for millions of Missourians. At the hearing, McCaskill entered into the record a 2010 document that outlined more than 400 preexisting conditions that health insurance companies used to deny coverage to individuals before rules were put in place protecting individuals with preexisting conditions.

McCaskill has also fought against rising healthcare and prescription drug costs since joining the Senate. McCaskill’s bipartisan proposals to prohibit pharmaceutical “gag clauses,” which led patients to overpay for their medications, recently passed Congress and is expected to be signed into law this week. Earlier this year, she released an investigative report that showed that drug prices directly negotiated by the government could save the Medicare Part D program $2.8 billion in a single year on the 20 most commonly prescribed brand-name drugs alone.

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/healthcare to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to improve healthcare for Missourians.

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