Trump administration backs looser Obamacare waivers for states

© Reuters. US HHS Secretary Price Addresses White House Briefing in Washington

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Trump administration told states on Monday that it was opening the door for them to make changes to their health insurance programs by using a section of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that gives them the flexibility to do so.

President Donald Trump and Tom Price, Secretary of Health and Human Services, vowed to begin transferring more power over health insurance to the states in a three-part process. This would include rulemaking to modify the ACA guidelines, the health care review bill currently being considered by Congress, and then new legislation.

As the administration seeks to repeal Obamacare, it says it will aim to replace federal oversight of state-controlled insurance plans.

Former President Barack Obama‘s national health reform law, often called Obamacare, had originally set out a roadmap for states to have more power to decide how to implement the law as long as they met four key criteria for so-called state exemptions. of innovation.

But in 2015, the Obama administration issued new regulatory guidance that would have strengthened the use of such exemptions, which could be used as of January 1, 2017.

However, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid said in a news release Monday that the “section 1332” waivers could be used to help states receive funds to help offset the costs of high-risk patients and premium stabilization programs related to the individual market.

More sick people signed up for insurance under that program than health insurers had anticipated, raising premiums 25 percent on average this year and raising questions about whether insurers will continue to offer insurance in 2018 during the transition to Trump’s new plans. UnitedHealth Group Inc (NYSE 🙂 and Aetna Inc (NYSE 🙂 largely exited the market this year, while Anthem Inc held on in 2017.

The Trump administration is backing the bill in the US House of Representatives that would eviscerate parts of Obamacare, but it is uncertain whether it will win the necessary support for passage in the US Senate, where it is up against the resistance of conservative and moderate Republicans.

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