Senate GOP wary of Trump reviving health care battle

Desiree Burns
April 2, 2019

Critics have called association health plans "junk insurance" that provide skimpy coverage. ABC News could not independently confirm Mulvaney's claim regarding last year's statistics; however, the provision of Affordable Care Act known as the "mandate", which imposed the penalties, was repealed by the Republican tax plan in 2017.

Attorneys from the Justice Department last week filed a letter with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans asking to effectively strike down the entire law, agreeing with the landmark ruling made by a federal judge in Texas previous year.

Rules allowing association health plans began going into effect less than six months ago, and according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, which studies trends in health care, only a few plans have been announced.

Bates' ruling comes after an intense week in the courts for the administration's health care policies.

One plan dealing with the uncertainty is run by the Nebraska Farm Bureau, which began enrolling members October 1.

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Proponents say the plans are attractive to middle-class Americans who may not qualify for federal Obamacare health insurance subsidies.

"The Final Rule was intended and created to end-run the requirements of the ACA, but it does so only by ignoring the language and objective of both [the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974] and the ACA", Bates wrote. The act governs minimum standards for company retirement and health plans.

A separate Trump administration rule expanding the duration of another type of health plan that bypasses the law's requirements, short-term insurance plans, also faces a lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court for the D.C. Circuit.

Aside from the legal issues about the plans, there were concerns that if they became insolvent, as some did in the past, policyholders could be stuck with medical bills.

Over 11 million reportedly signed up for Obamacare coverage this year.

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