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Press release
October 22, 2018

Trump Administration Continues its Attack on People with Preexisting Conditions Through New Guidance

Effective Immediately, New Section 1332 Guidance Lets States Remove Consumer Protections for Private Health Insurance Coverage

Washington, D.C.—Earlier today, the Trump administration released its “guidance” for state waivers under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act, which was effective upon publication.

Following is the statement of Frederick Isasi, J.D., M.P.H., executive director of Families USA:

“The Trump administration’s new policy shows, once again, that President Trump is not speaking the truth when he claims to protect people with preexisting conditions. Instead, his administration showed its fierce determination to take protections away from people with health problems, letting insurance companies pocket billions of taxpayer dollars to provide sham insurance that doesn’t meet consumers’ needs.

“The new Trump administration policy pours federal taxpayer dollars into the coffers of insurance companies that sell substandard coverage, free of consumer safeguards. It gives these companies a license to steal healthy customers away from insurance that protects people with preexisting conditions. When Republican leadership in Congress proposed similar policies in last year’s failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that people with preexisting conditions would either pay much higher premiums or be left unable to obtain insurance at all.

“As a congressional staffer who focused on this very section of the law during congressional debates, I saw policymakers’ dual commitment: first, by outlawing insurance company rip-offs, to ensure that families across the nation receive real financial protection from unaffordable medical costs; and second, to guarantee that taxpayer dollars can be used only to buy quality health insurance, free from insurance industry profiteering. The Trump administration’s new policy is flatly illegal. It brazenly ignores statutory guardrails Congress crafted with such care, offering the insurance industry billions of taxpayer dollars to provide fly-by-night coverage that will not protect families from bankruptcy or cover the benefits they need.

“Last week, Families USA found that working-class families of every race and ethnicity, in every part of the country – but especially working-class women -- are more likely than anyone else to have serious health problems and to struggle with unaffordable health care costs. Today’s policy once again makes clear that President Trump has placed a target on the backs of working-class women and men by unleashing insurance industry abuses and authorizing huge gaps in coverage that will prove financially devastating for working families.”

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