The Trump administration has put a lot of effort into sabotaging the Affordable Care Act, some of it successful, some not. In the “not” category is allowing states to have a waiver to make crappy, not-ACA-compliant insurance plans legal. The problem for Trump: The states don’t want to do it.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would process and accept these waivers last fall, back in October. So far, not a single state has indicated that it wants to do that. Perhaps because they know the political consequences of people ending up with bad insurance plans that the state has presented to them as a good deal. That would put the states in the position, potentially, of taking the blame for people losing coverage and pre-existing conditions protections. Which has proved to be kind of a big political deal.
Just to put a pin in what a bad idea this new regulation from the administration is, the House will vote soon on a measure to block the administration from granting these waivers. It bans the CMS and the Treasury Department from implementing or enforcing the waivers, should any of the states decide they want to try them. One of the bill’s authors, Democratic Rep. Joe Courtney, explains that the “guidance the Administration issued further degrades the original intent of the ACA by creating a backdoor to provide Americans with coverage that doesn’t meet the law’s standards and weakens protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”
The states seem to get that, but it’s smart for House Democrats to force the issue anyway and put Republicans on the record—again—on whether or not they really do want people to have comprehensive, affordable healthcare coverage.
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