October 10, 2018

Udall, Heinrich Fight for Pre-Existing Condition Protections & Affordable, Quality Health Care for New Mexico

NM senators vote to overturn Trump administration’s effort to undermine ACA protections with short-term, “junk” insurance plans that drive up health care costs

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich voted for a measure to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of short-term “junk insurance” health care plans.

Earlier this year, following their failed efforts to repeal the ACA in Congress, the Trump administration finalized a new policy to weaken health care protections for people across New Mexico by expanding the availability of short-term coverage plans that are not required to provide the full range of benefits required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to protect consumers. These short-term plans often leave out coverage for basic medical needs, including mental health, prescriptions drugs, and maternity care. The plans can also charge far more for those with pre-existing conditions, or even decide to deny them coverage altogether. Although Udall and Heinrich voted in favor of today’s resolution, offered by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), the measure to roll back junk insurance plans failed on a tie vote of 50 to 50, with all but one Senate Republican voting to keep the expansion of junk plans.

“We can’t afford to go back to the days when plans didn’t cover critical health care services – but that’s where the Trump administration and Senate Republicans are taking us,” Udall said. “I voted to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk health plans because these plans jeopardize affordable, comprehensive health care coverage for working families and people with pre-existing conditions in New Mexico and across the country. These junk plans – endorsed by the Trump administration and now by Senate Republicans – are intended to undermine the ACA and will only drive up health care costs for those who need it most. I’ll keep fighting to safeguard New Mexicans’ critical health care protections, while working toward solutions that actually lower costs and expand quality coverage.”

“We need to focus on making health care more affordable and more comprehensive, not less,” Heinrich said. “The Trump administration’s junk insurance rule creates lower-tier insurance plans that will cover much less for more cost and raise premiums for everyone else on the individual market. It will also end key protections for people with pre-existing conditions like diabetes and heart disease. It is time to recognize that health care is a human right and start working on real solutions instead of dismantling our health care system to score political points.”

Udall and Heinrich are both co-sponsors of today’s resolution to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of junk plans. In April, Udall and Heinrich previously expressed their opposition to the proposed rule by the Department of Health and Human Services in a letter sent to the Trump Administration during the public comment period.