WASHINGTON – The Senate Wednesday afternoon rejected a Democratic-led proposal to overturn a Trump administration rule on short-term health insurance plans.
The measure was defeated 50-50. It needed a simple majority to pass.
All 49 Democrats voted no as did Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.
The measure was introduced by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).
The Labor Department first announced the rule in January. It permits the sale of health insurance polices across state lines. Many of the polices provide barebones benefits and do not conform with Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates.
Prior to the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer described policies sold under the rule as “junk insurance.”
“These plans are junk insurance, period, no ands, ifs, or buts. Junk,” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a floor speech.
He added: “We prohibited them in the past. This administration wants these junk insurance plans to run rampant and let people be duped into thinking they’re having insurance when it covers almost nothing. They’re a massive risk to any American family who purchases them, and worse, they cause rates to go up for everyone else, even those who elect not to buy one.”
The administration has defended the rule, saying it expands consumer choice and encourages employers to band together to insure more people.
The GOP tax reform bill signed into law last year eliminated the ACA’s individual mandate but left the employer mandate in place.