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Federal judge upholds a Trump alternative to ‘Obamacare’

July 20, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge is upholding the Trump administration’s expansion of cheaper short-term health insurance plans as an alternative to the Affordable Care Act’s costlier comprehensive insurance.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Leon in Washington, D.C., ruled Friday that the potential downside of expanding short-term plans is “minimal” and “benefits are undeniable” for some consumers. He found that the Trump administration had the legal authority to issue rules last year making the plans more attractive to customers.

Where available, the plans now are good for up to 12 months and may be renewed for 36 months. But they don’t have to cover people with pre-existing conditions or provide basic benefits like prescription drugs.

The Association for Community Affiliated Plans, an insurer group that sued the administration, plans to appeal.

Health and Human Services Alex Azar called the ruling “a clear victory” for patients.

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