Trump’s Group Health Plan Rules Struck Down as ACA ‘End-Run’

March 29, 2019by Erik Larson and John Tozzi
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters before departing the White House March 28, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

WASHINGTON — One of President Donald Trump’s health care initiatives intended as a cheaper alternative to Obamacare suffered a crucial defeat in Washington after a judge ruled the policy violates the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington on Thursday blocked new rules governing so-called association health plans, which let businesses and individuals band together to create group health plans that offer less expensive coverage than the ACA — but without some of its protections.

The ruling is a victory for nearly a dozen Democratic state attorneys general who sued to block the policy last year. The judge’s findings come as the Trump administration is renewing its effort to unwind Obamacare by declining to defend it in court.

“The final rule is clearly an end-run around the ACA,” Bates, a 2001 appointee of Republican president George W. Bush, said in the ruling. “Indeed, as the president directed, and the secretary of Labor confirmed, the final rule was designed to expand access to AHPs in order to avoid the most stringent requirements of the ACA.”

The final rules governing so-called association health plans, or AHPs, was created by the Labor Department to comply with an executive order issued by Trump in October 2017. The agency has been phasing them in since August.

Some plans are already in the market, with offerings from UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Anthem Inc. either available now or on the way.

Bates cited the “absurdity” of the Labor Department’s interpretation of a rule forming the basis of the initiative.

The attorneys general — led by New York and including states ranging from Kentucky to California as well as the District of Columbia — argued the new rules violate ACA provisions as well as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, commonly known as Erisa.

———

©2019 Bloomberg News

Visit Bloomberg News at www.bloomberg.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Health

Senators Discuss Solutions to the COVID-19 Long-Term Care Issue
Health
Senators Discuss Solutions to the COVID-19 Long-Term Care Issue
May 29, 2020
by Kate Michael

WASHINGTON - Long-term care is a topic that hits close to home for many. Nursing homes and facilities providing care for people 65 and older are often crowded and understaffed, and care for seniors is even more complicated in the COVID-19 era. More than a third... Read More

Congress Seeks to Help Minorities Hit Hardest by Coronavirus
Health
Congress Seeks to Help Minorities Hit Hardest by Coronavirus
May 28, 2020
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - Medical and social welfare witnesses told a congressional committee Wednesday that ethnic minorities need an increased effort to protect them from the devastation of coronavirus. They are dying or losing their jobs in some locations at almost twice the rate of the white population,... Read More

US Coronavirus Deaths Pass 100,000 Mark in Under Four Months
In The News
US Coronavirus Deaths Pass 100,000 Mark in Under Four Months

WASHINGTON — The nation’s coronavirus death toll surpassed 100,000 in less than four months on Wednesday, a heart-rending inflection point in a pandemic that has profoundly altered Americans’ daily lives, ravaged the U.S. economy and put the country’s bare-knuckle political disunity on display for all the... Read More

District of Columbia to Lift Stay-At-Home Order Friday
Economy
District of Columbia to Lift Stay-At-Home Order Friday
May 27, 2020
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser said Wednesday the city will lift its stay-at-home order on Friday and begin phase one of its reopening process. The details of Bowser's announcement are available here. The mayor said though new cases of the virus are still... Read More

Coronavirus Widens Health Care Divide Between Red States and Blue States
Health
Coronavirus Widens Health Care Divide Between Red States and Blue States

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Jenny Morones and Courtney Marrs are both working mothers. Both labor to raise three children on low incomes. Both fled abusive relationships. But because Morones lives in California — a state that expanded its safety net through the Affordable Care Act — she... Read More

Trump Halts Entry Into US From Brazil, White House Says
Foreign Affairs
Trump Halts Entry Into US From Brazil, White House Says

The U.S. will restrict the entry of non-U.S. citizens arriving from Brazil, where coronavirus cases are spiking, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Sunday. The order begins at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, and the entry of all foreigners who’ve been in Brazil over a 14-day... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top