President Donald Trump holds a campaign rally at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Thursday, March 28, 2019. (Cory Morse/MLive.com/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

Trump's small-business health insurance plan struck down

March 29, 2019 - 6:29 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge is striking down the Trump administration's highly touted small-business health insurance plan, calling it an "end run" around consumer protections.

The ruling Thursday by U.S. District Judge John Bates in Washington, D.C., is the second setback in a week for the administration's health care initiatives. On Wednesday another federal judge blocked Medicaid work requirements for low-income people.

At issue in the latest ruling are so-called "association health plans," in which businesses and sole proprietors can band together to offer lower-cost coverage that doesn't provide all the benefits required under the Affordable Care Act.

President Donald Trump has hailed the small-business plans as a big success, but their impact is difficult to measure.

Unable to repeal the Obama health law in Congress, the Trump administration has tried to use its rule-making powers to create room for alternatives.

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