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Rep. Walberg Proposes Bill To Maintain Trump-Era Health Plan Rule

 July 3, 2024

Rep. Tim Walberg is taking a stand against the Department of Labor's decision to rescind a rule from the Trump administration that expanded Association Health Plans (AHPs).

Walberg is introducing legislation to block this move, aimed at preventing increased health care costs for small businesses and preserving options facilitated by the Trump administration, as Fox Business reports.

On Tuesday, Rep. Walberg, supported by several GOP colleagues, will introduce the new legislation targeting the Biden administration's plan to limit AHPs. The Department of Labor had announced in April 2024 that it would roll back the 2018 rule expanding these health plans.

Efforts to Counteract Department of Labor Decision

The Trump-era rule, mostly invalidated by a court in 2019, allowed small businesses to band together to obtain health insurance at bulk rates similar to those enjoyed by large corporations. This rule has enabled employees to save up to 50% on health care costs.

Walberg's legislation aims to block the Department of Labor's efforts, which he argues will drive up health care costs and limit options for small businesses and working Americans. The proposed legislation would make Congress disapprove of the Department of Labor's rule concerning the definition of "Employer."

In a statement, Walberg emphasized the inconsistency he sees in the Biden administration's approach. "President Biden has campaigned on lowering health care costs for hardworking Americans, but his regulatory agenda tells a far different story," he said. "This is yet another example of Biden saying one thing but doing the other at the expense of the American people."

Co-Sponsors and Legislative Support

The legislation is co-sponsored by GOP Reps. Virginia Foxx, Neal Dunn, Aaron Bean, Russ Fulcher, Dan Meuser, Troy Balderson, Claudia Tenney, and Dan Crenshaw. These representatives share Walberg's concern over the potential impact of rescinding the Trump-era rule on small businesses.

Rep. Foxx has been vocal about the implications for small businesses, stating, "Small businesses overwhelmingly cite the soaring costs of health insurance as their top concern." She highlighted the declining percentage of small businesses offering health coverage since 2010, which she attributes to increasing costs.

Foxx criticized the Biden administration's approach, saying, "Instead of embracing common-sense policies that would allow small businesses to band together to offer coverage for their employees, the administration is rescinding a Trump-era rule which allowed for just that."

Historical Context and Legislative Background

Last year, Walberg introduced the Association Health Plans Act to expand health care options and reduce costs for small businesses through AHPs. The House passed this act as part of H.R. 3799 (CHOICE Arrangement Act) in June 2023, but it has not yet been voted on by the Senate.

The Biden administration has criticized the Association Health Plans Act, describing it as an attack on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Department of Labor's rule claimed that Trump-era AHPs evaded several critical ACA consumer protections.

In December 2023, Foxx remarked that the Department of Labor's decision would exacerbate health care costs for small businesses. By February 2024, she reiterated that the Biden administration's policies would limit choice and increase costs for Americans.

Implications of the Trump-Era Rule

The Trump administration's rule led to an average savings of up to 29% from new AHPs, with specific groups like realtor associations saving up to 50%. These savings are a significant factor in the push to retain the rule. Walberg underscored the benefits of the Trump-era rule, stating, "The Trump-era AHP rule levels the playing field for small businesses who are allowed to band together to get similar bulk rates that large corporations enjoy."

He criticized the current administration's stance, saying, "Sadly, the Biden administration continues their illogical commitment to undoing Trump’s successful policies. I’m proud to continue to lead the fight in Congress against Biden’s attempt to drive up health care costs and limit options for hardworking Americans."

Calls for Increased Health Care Choice

Foxx highlighted the administration's disregard for the needs of Americans, saying, "Today, Americans are shouting from the rooftops about how politicians need to increase health care affordability and tackle inflation. The administration’s proposed rule turns a blind eye to the needs of Americans."

She emphasized the need for policies that increase choice and flexibility for workers rather than government-intrusion tactics. "Instead of doubling down on heavy-handed government-intrusion tactics, the administration should pursue opportunities to increase health care choice and flexibility for workers," Foxx said.

Walberg also pointed out the contradiction in Biden's campaign promises and regulatory actions, noting that while Biden has campaigned on lowering health care costs, his regulatory agenda appears to have the opposite effect.


Rep. Tim Walberg's proposed legislation seeks to counteract the Department of Labor's decision to rescind a Trump-era rule expanding Association Health Plans.

This move is supported by several GOP representatives who argue that rescinding the rule will increase health care costs and limit options for small businesses.

The legislation highlights the ongoing debate over health care policy and the balance between regulatory measures and market-driven solutions.