Underwood Presses Department of Labor Secretary Acosta on Access to Contraception, Expansion of “Junk” Plans
WASHINGTON – In a hearing today in the House Committee on Education and Labor, Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (IL-14), pressed Department of Labor Secretary R. Alexander Acosta on the Department’s regulations that deny women access to contraception and expand short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans that do not have to offer patient protections like coverage for preexisting conditions or essential health benefits. The hearing marked the Secretary’s first appearance before the Committee in the 116th Congress.
“Secretary Acosta, for women, reproductive health care is health care. But your Department has issued rules that deny the science of women’s health care and allow employers to deny workers health insurance that covers contraceptives,” Congresswoman Underwood said. “Women’s lives and women’s health depend on their ability to access contraceptives. Your actions are denying science and putting American women at risk.”
“Last year, your Department approved a rule extending the limit for short-term health insurance plans from three months to three years. These plans are commonly called junk insurance, because—although they are very profitable for insurance companies—the coverage they provide to patients is trash,” Underwood continued. “This Administration has been relentless in its attempts to undermine access to health care. In nursing school, we’re taught how important it is to listen to your patients. Instead of listening, this Administration is ignoring patients, and nurses, and doctors. The Administration isn’t protecting moms, or kids, or people with preexisting conditions. It’s attacking them. Well, let me tell you, Mr. Secretary – not on my watch.”
Full video of Underwood’s interaction with Acosta can be found here.
In February, Underwood introduced legislation that would help protect Americans with preexisting conditions by overturning an Administration rule that expands limited duration insurance, commonly known as “junk plans.” The legislation has been passed by the Energy and Commerce and Education and Labor Committees.