A federal judge ruled Friday that the Trump administration may allow the sale of short-term health insurance plans, less costly alternatives to Obamacare that do not cover pre-existing illnesses.
The decision was issued in Washington, DC, by Judge Richard Leon, and George W. Bush appointee, who wrote the trump administration's offerings that "benefits are uncontested."
The lawsuit was brought by the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, which calls short-term plans for "junk insurance"
The Trump administration has expanded the use of short-term plans. The plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, such as treatments for cancer or diabetes, and omit the broader range of coverage that Obamacare provides, such as maternity care and mental health. Such omissions help make coverage less expensive.
The lawsuit argued that Obamacare was intended to end such practices, arguing that they had been subjected to an unfair disadvantage because they had to follow the rules of healthcare law that prohibit sick people from being turned away.
The Obama administration allowed people to buy short-term health insurance during most of Barack Obama's term, but, in April 201
The administration has framed the provision as an alternative for Obamacare customers who are priced out of the market and otherwise would go uninsured. At the same time, the White House is waging a lawsuit against all Obamacare to have the law thrown out in its entirety, which would undo the rules on pre-existing conditions as well as a broad array of other healthcare rules.
Leon had initially ordered the plaintiffs to refine their arguments until they had data to show their businesses had been harmed. Enrollment data for the most recent Obamacare enrollment found only a slight decrease in the purchase of plans.
Leon cited the enrollment trend in his decision, saying that "potential negative impacts" were "minimal." He also noted the fact that Obama administration had allowed short-term plans for six years after Obamacare became law. Congress, he concluded, gave the executive branch the authority to regulate short-term plans.