This week, TPPF’s Center for the American Future and Right on Healthcare filed a comment warning federal agencies that a proposed rule, if finalized, would be unlawful, disastrous policy, and an invitation for litigation.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Labor, and Internal Revenue Service issued a proposed rule that would effectively prohibit the sale of certain private health plans that Americans have relied on for decades. Many forms of more affordable short-term insurance, which are especially valuable for unemployed Americans and gig workers, will disappear under the proposed rule.

Specifically, the proposed rule would expand the scope of requirements under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) by redefining short-term, limited-duration insurance and imposing additional conditions that fixed-indemnity plans must meet to qualify as excepted benefits. In addition, the proposed rule would increase the disclosure requirements that apply to the small subset of these plans that could still be sold.

“Congress specifically excepted these types of insurance plans from ACA requirements,” said TPPF Senior Attorney Autumn Hamit Patterson. “Federal agencies have no authority to limit these statutory exceptions to advance their policy preferences, especially when those policy preferences intrude on an area that has traditionally been regulated by the states.”

“Federal agencies also have no authority to ignore the First Amendment,” added TPPF Attorney Clayton Calvin. “Insurers cannot be compelled to serve as government mouthpieces touting insurance sold on government-run exchanges.”

Highlighting the policy ramifications, Tanner Aliff, TPPF’s Policy Director for Right on Healthcare, said, “The proposed rule will increase the uninsured population by reducing access to insurance products that are the best options for certain individuals. Americans should have the freedom to decide for themselves what plans will best meet their healthcare needs and financial situation.”

A copy of TPPF’s comment can be found here.