The Trump Administration today issued new guidance that loosens a range of requirements for states to grant waivers for insurance policy purchases under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury call the new guidance “State Relief and Empowerment Waivers.” They remove strict 2015 mandates under Obamacare and would greatly expand the ability of consumers to purchase short-term health insurance, as well as association health plans.
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“Absent substantial reform, the ACA would continue to have a negative effect on the cost and availability of health care for thousands of Americans. Despite a growing need, increasing costs, and limited providers in dozens of state exchanges, Congress has been unwilling to pass meaningful reform to fix the ACA. Fortunately for state policymakers, there is an option available to them to retake control of their health care markets, the waiver process.
“Before today, the guardrails placed on the ‘1332 waiver process’ by the Obama Administration made it nearly impossible to advance substantive reform. With this new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Trump Administration, the training wheels are finally off and states can pursue the kind of systemic reforms that they need to lower the cost of health care and return real choice to consumers. States should not rest on their laurels and move to propose new, innovative ideas that will help bring positive change to health care markets.”
“The Trump Administration latest changes will finally empower states to offer far better and more affordable insurance plans. After years of watching insurance premiums skyrocket under Obamacare, states will now be able to get out from under the law’s costly mandates and reform their insurance markets to serve the needs of both sick and healthy individuals alike.”
“The Trump Administration, through new guidelines released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has made a wise decision to shift the spirit of state innovation waivers – in which states are given the ability to offer alternatives to Obamacare – to a more competitive, free-market approach that allows states to offer quality plans that better fit a consumer’s individual needs.
“By loosening the restrictions on what constitutes coverage, the administration clarifies that affordable short-term, limited duration health insurance plans are available to consumers. And these are not merely a cheaper alternative to a ‘superior’ and vastly more expensive Obamacare plan, but plans that stand on their own as a first-choice for those seeking affordable plans that more closely match their health care needs without extraneous coverage for things they don’t need.”