American Diabetes Association Speaks Out Against Presidential Executive Order Regarding Health Care Coverage


Michelle Kirkwood

Arlington, Virginia
October 13, 2017

Executive order puts comprehensive insurance coverage at risk for Americans living with diabetes

Speaking out on behalf of more than 30 million Americans living with diabetes, the American Diabetes Association is extremely concerned with the executive order issued yesterday by the President, which encourages expanded access to association health plans and short-term, limited-duration plans. The order jeopardizes access to adequate coverage and could increase health care costs for anyone with a pre-existing condition, including diabetes.

The executive order directs the Secretary of Labor to expand access to association health plans, potentially allowing for their sale across state lines. Allowing the expansion of association health plans could mean the proliferation of coverage that does not provide the essential benefits people with diabetes need to effectively manage their disease and to prevent devastating and costly complications. Permitting insurers to sell health insurance across state lines also minimizes existing key consumer protections for Americans with diabetes, putting patients at additional risk of having to pay more for the essential services needed to treat their diabetes. The order also directs the Secretaries of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury to expand access to short-term, limited-duration plans. These plans can deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and are generally inadequate for people with diabetes.  

In sum, these changes could destabilize the individual and small-group health insurance markets and make comprehensive coverage unaffordable. While this would allow the young and healthy to obtain coverage at a minimal cost, that coverage would itself be minimal and likely inadequate. People with pre-existing conditions, who enroll in plans that follow the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) rules barring insurers from tactics such as excluding the sick, charging them more, and omitting essential health care benefits, could find comprehensive coverage is soon priced beyond their means. Rather than make coverage affordable and more readily available for people with diabetes, the executive order released yesterday could make adequate coverage more expensive and ultimately unavailable for anyone with a pre-existing condition.

The Association does not support the mandates of yesterday’s executive order because they will threaten access to affordable and adequate coverage for people with diabetes. We urge the President to reconsider this order and work with Congress to develop meaningful bipartisan reforms. Such reforms include the bipartisan market stabilization legislation currently being developed in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, that will protect and expand access to affordable and adequate health care for people with diabetes—and anyone with a pre-existing health condition. The Association is ready to assist in reforms that provide access to affordable and adequate coverage for people with diabetes.

About the American Diabetes Association

Nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes; and every 21 seconds, another individual is diagnosed with diabetes in the U.S. Founded in 1940, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization whose mission is to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The ADA drives discovery by funding research to treat, manage and prevent all types of diabetes, as well as to search for cures; raises voice to the urgency of the diabetes epidemic; and works to safeguard policies and programs that protect people with diabetes. In addition, the ADA supports people living with diabetes, those at risk of developing diabetes, and the health care professionals who serve them through information and programs that can improve health outcomes and quality of life. For more information, please call the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit Information from both of these sources is available in English and Spanish. Find us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn)