WASHINGTON–U.S. Senators Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), both members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Wednesday led 32 of their colleagues, including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), in a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Xavier Becerra urging the Department to take immediate action to address short-term limited duration insurance (STLDI) plans, or junk plans, which fail to provide adequate, comprehensive health insurance coverage.
In 2018, in an effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Trump Administration made junk plans more widely available to consumers. Since then, these plans have continued to expand, however, they are not required to adhere to important standards, including prohibitions on discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, coverage for the 10 essential health benefit (EHB) categories, and annual out-of-pocket maximums.
“Now, more than ever, the Department of Health and Human Services must act. Beginning in April, millions of Americans will likely lose the Medicaid coverage that they have relied upon during the COVID-19 pandemic. We must protect those who will be looking for coverage in the near future, and take steps to ensure that these plans are not allowed to further proliferate,” wrote the senators. “It is past time for your Department to step up and address the expansion and proliferation of junk plans.”
In February of 2022, Murphy and Baldwin led a letter to the Biden Administration urging them to act quickly to limit STLDI plans. In July of 2021, Senators Murphy and Baldwin penned an op-ed in Health Affairs calling on President Biden to end the health care sabotage of the previous administration and get more Americans enrolled in high-quality, affordable, health insurance.
In addition to Murphy, Baldwin, and Blumenthal the letter was signed by Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.), Timothy Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Peter Welch (D-Vt.).
Full text of the letter can be found here.