Statement of ACAP CEO Margaret A. Murray on ACAP vs. Treasury
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 20, 2020
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Jeff Van Ness, 202-204–7515, firstname.lastname@example.org
STATEMENT OF ACAP CEO MARGARET A. MURRAY ON ACAP vs. TREASURY
WASHINGTON—Margaret A. Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, today issued the following statement on ACAP vs. Treasury, a lawsuit challenging the validity of regulations governing short-term, limited duration insurance (STLDI) currently before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Oral arguments are being held over the telephone the morning of Friday, March 20:
“Today we argue a lawsuit in the face of a public health menace so pervasive and dangerous that we cannot make our arguments in person.
“Schools are closed, the stock market is in free fall, and families can’t visit their loved ones in nursing homes owing to the threat of COVID-19.
“And today, the Administration will argue that short-term junk insurance plans are a good idea.
“We’ve already seen how these plans operate when they come into contact with health need: one of the first people who tried to get tested for coronavirus was stuck with a bill for thousands of dollars until news stories shamed the plan into covering what it should have all along.
“It’s ironic that today’s arguments happen just days before the tenth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law. It’s easy for us to forget, but the ACA came about precisely because of the extreme dysfunction of the individual health insurance market—junk insurance plans bring back the very problems and abusive practices the ACA was meant to solve.
“The ACA provides protections against discrimination on the basis of pre-existing medical conditions; today, the Administration defends the ability of junk insurance plans to deny coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions.
“The ACA provides for a comprehensive set of essential benefits – including coverage for vaccines, inpatient hospitalization, and prescription drugs. Today, the Administration will defend junk plans’ ability to pick and choose the benefits it will cover. Accordingly, very few cover pregnancy, prescription drugs, or mental health.
“The ACA prohibits annual or lifetime limits on coverage. Today, the Administration will defend junk plans’ severe limits on coverage, after which members are left to fend for themselves.
“The ACA mandates that plans spend at least 85 cents of every dollar received in premium on health benefits, and rebate the difference to their membership. Today, the Administration will defend junk plans’ keeping, on average, about half of their premiums to themselves –in one case, the plan kept 91 cents of every dollar.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us a lot about ourselves. And it’s providing clear evidence that health coverage matters. A strong health care system matters. In its 10 years, the ACA prepared us for this moment by, among other things, sharply reducing the proportion of Americans who have no health insurance, guaranteeing consumer protections, and investing heavily in prevention and public health.
“Especially in light of all the challenges of today, why does the Administration take drastic action to shore up our health care system with one hand, while at the same time actively work to undermine it with the other?”
ACAP represents 74 Safety Net Health Plans, which collectively serve more than 20 million people. ACAP-member Safety Net Health Plans and partners serve their communities through Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and other public health programs. For more information, visit www.communityplans.net.
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