Sen. John Barrasso Introduces Bill Offering Americans More Affordable Short-Term Health Plans

President Donald Trump, center, walks with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., right, as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced a bill on Wednesday to codify President Donald Trump’s recent executive order offering Americans more affordable, short-term, health plans compared to Obamacare.

On Wednesday, Sen. Barrasso introduced the Improving Choices in Health Care Coverage Act (S. 2507), which expands access to short-term, limited duration health plans.

President Trump signed an executive order in October that expanded association health plans (AHPs), as well as short-term, limited-duration insurance plans to offer Americans more affordable options compared to Obamacare. Sen. Barrasso’s bill would make the short-term health care expansion permanent.

“By building on the Trump administration action, Congress has an opportunity to truly expand health care choice and affordability,” said Barrasso. “These less expensive health plans are free from Obamacare’s burdensome mandates and are an important option for many Americans priced out of the one-size-fits-all plans offered today. It gives them the freedom to choose the coverage that works best for them.”

Barrasso’s bill would increase the length of a short-term health plan to 364 days, while also offering “guaranteed renewable” plans to give Americans long-term health insurance alternative to Obamacare.

Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation argued that the short-term health care plan offers Americans the option to escape Obamacare.

Levitt explained, “A short-term plan that’s renewable is frankly not a short-term plan. It’s sort of semantic gymnastics at that point. But, that’s not the point here. The point is to create an unregulated market that can make an end run around the ACA [Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)].”

A poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that nearly four in five Republicans continue to oppose Obamacare.

In October, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) praised Trump’s executive order as “the biggest free-market reform of health care in a generation,” adding that it will allow Americans to purchase health insurance across state lines.

President Donald Trump suggested at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February that repealing Obamacare “piece by piece by piece” may serve as a better strategy than trying to repeal Obamacare with a comprehensive bill such as Graham-Cassidy or the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA).

“The left-leaning Urban Institute estimates that 4.2 million Americans would enroll in short-term plans next year if we just let them keep their plan as long as a year,” Sen. Barrasso said on the Senate floor on Wednesday. “Just the one change could make a difference in the lives of four million Americans.”

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