Washington, D.C. – During a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), the U.S. House Assistant Speaker, slammed proponents of “junk” health insurance for misleading American consumers about the inadequate coverage provided under these plans. Luján also criticized Republican efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic.
After hearing a Republican witness claim that enhanced short-term insurance plans provide similar coverage to plans on the health care exchange, Luján countered: “[Junk plans] do no cover pre-existing conditions. People need to stop lying to innocent folks that are out there and convincing them that these plans are going to cover their cancer, their diabetes, or if they get in an accident. Many of these plans don’t even cover prescription drug costs; they don’t cover ambulatory care. Enough! Let’s just be honest. If you want to sell people these short-term junk plans, let’s be honest with the American people as to what they’re buying so that way people are not left without.”
“My Republican colleagues have no plan to cover pre-existing conditions or to protect the American people. Their last proposal from a few years ago allowed insurance companies to charge ridiculous prices for people with pre-existing conditions. It slapped an age tax on older Americans, and it forced states to ration care by drastically cutting Medicaid. President Trump has not put forth a plan at all — although he’s promised it for four years, every two weeks. But what we have seen from him already is deeply troubling. The Trump administration has promoted junk plans that we were just talking about, which look cheaper until you get sick and realize the plan doesn’t cover basics like emergency room visits or prescription drugs,” he continued.
Video of the hearing is available here.
The Trump administration and 18 Republican-led states are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions. If their efforts are successful, 20 million Americans could lose their health coverage. The Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in California v. Texas on November 10, 2020.