GOP Rep Proposes Bill Blocking Biden From Overturning Trump’s Time Rule On Association Health Plans

EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich., is introducing legislation aimed at fighting the Labor Department’s decision to roll back the Trump administration’s rule that expanded association health plans (AHPs).

The legislation, obtained exclusively by FOX Business, aims to block the Biden administration’s plan to get rid of AHPs, which allow some employees to save up to 50% on health care costs, as small businesses cite health care costs as their main concern. Walberg’s proposal will be presented on Tuesday.

“President Biden has campaigned on lowering health care costs for hard-working Americans, but his regulatory agenda tells a very different story,” Walberg told FOX Business. “Biden has sought to undo a Trump-era rule that lowers health care costs and expands health care options for working Americans and small businesses. This is another example of Biden saying one thing but doing another in at the expense of the American people.”

The policy implemented by the Trump administration allowed small businesses to band together to receive the larger percentage given to larger businesses.


Rep. Tim Walberg is introducing legislation that seeks to block the Labor Department’s move to repeal the Trump administration’s rule that expanded AHPs. (Getty Images)

“The Trump-era AHP rule levels the playing field for small businesses that are allowed to band together to receive similar wholesale rates that large corporations enjoy,” Walberg said. “Sadly, the Biden administration continues its illogical commitment to undo Trump’s successful policies. I am proud to continue to lead the fight in Congress against Biden’s effort to raise health care costs and limit options for hardworking Americans.”

Supporters of the legislation include GOP Reps. Virginia Foxx, NC; Neal Dunn, Fla.; Aaron Bean, Fla.; Russ Fulcher, Idaho; Dan Meuser, Penn.; Troy Balderson, Ohio; Claudia Tenney, NY; and Dan Crenshaw, Texas.

The Labor Department announced in April that it would rescind a 2018 rule that expanded the availability of AHPs, which it says “do not need to comply with certain critical consumer protections” under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The Trump administration’s rule, which was largely struck down by a court in 2019, made it easier for a group or association of employers to be treated as an “employer” when it offered multiemployer group health insurance, according to a Labor Department release , that. also said the rule effectively allowed more employers to offer health insurance coverage that “avoids some critical ACA consumer protections.”

Under Walberg’s legislation, Congress would not adopt the rule proposed by the Department of Labor “relating to the Definition of ‘Employer’ – Association Health Plans,” noting that the department’s rule would be “of no force or effect.” .


The legislation aims to block the Biden administration’s plan to get rid of AHPs. (ALEX EDELMAN/AFP via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Last year, Walberg introduced the Association Health Plans Act that sought to expand health care options and lower costs for small businesses through AHPs. The House passed the Walberg Association Health Plans Act as part of HR 3799, also known as the CHOICE Deal Act, in June 2023, but it has yet to be brought to the floor for a Senate vote.

The Biden administration last year criticized the Association Health Plans Act, which sought to codify the Trump administration’s rule, as an “attack on the Affordable Care Act and its critical health care protections,” describing the legislation as ” the latest in a long line of attacks on Americans’ ability to access the health care they need.”

In December, following news of the Labor Department’s decision to rescind a Trump administration rule that expanded AHPs, Rep. Foxx, who chairs the Education and Workforce Committee, said the rule would destroy choice and worsen health care costs for small businesses and workers. .

“Small businesses overwhelmingly cite rising health insurance costs as their top concern,” she said at the time. “In fact, since 2010, the share of small businesses with fewer than 50 employees offering health coverage has fallen from 39 to 32% — threatening a slow death spiral for the small group market and leaving workers and their families with fewer health care options. Rather than doubling down on heavy-handed government intervention tactics, the administration should pursue opportunities to increase health care choice and flexibility for workers.”

The Trump administration’s policy allowed small businesses to join together to receive the top rate that larger businesses can receive. (Getty Images)


In February, Foxx said the Biden administration “continues to double down on policies that will limit choice and raise health care costs for Americans.”

“Instead of embracing common-sense policies that would allow small businesses to band together to provide coverage for their employees, the administration is rolling back a Trump-era rule that allowed just that,” she said at the time. “Today, Americans are shouting from the rooftops how politicians should increase health care affordability and address inflation. The administration’s proposed rule turns a blind eye to the needs of Americans.”

Under the Trump administration, new AHPs produced savings of up to 29% on average while in effect. Additionally, realtor groups saw average savings of up to 50%.

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