Signaling a possible appeal, Justice Department spokeswoman Kelly Laco says in a statement issued Friday the administration is "considering all available options." U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled in Washington late Thursday that a Trump administration regulation creating the new small-business plans was "clearly an end-run" around the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, often called "Obamacare." Bates says it also runs counter to longstanding federal laws that govern workplace benefits.
Trump has been touting the plans as a tremendous value for small businesses and sole proprietors, but the plans do not seem to have had a major impact.
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.