Trump admin blocks Idaho plan to ditch Affordable Care Act

  • Trump admin blocks Idaho plan to ditch Affordable Care Act

Trump admin blocks Idaho plan to ditch Affordable Care Act

Blue Cross of Idaho was to offer five of these plans, keeping the ACA's essential benefits (with the exception of one plan which would have excluded maternity care) but charging more based on pre-existing conditions and have a $1 million annual limit on claims.

For instance, Idaho insurers who offer skinnier plans would have to offer Obamacare-compliant plans on the exchange, too, so they don't "cherry-pick" the healthiest customers.

The letter suggests that "with certain modifications" Idaho could offer individual coverage that deviates from the ACA's rules by defining them as short-term health plans. They cite a Supreme Court decision defining "substantially" as "in the main" and not "to a high degree". In fact, we consider the letter an invitation from CMS to continue discussing the specifics of what can and cannot be included in state-based plans. In a letter to Governor Otter, Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), wrote, "CMS is committed to working with states to give them as much flexibility as permissible under the law to provide their citizens the best possible access to healthcare".

Blue Cross of Idaho submitted potential plans to the state. They argued that CMS had numerous obligations - both under the ACA and under the Constitution - to prevent the state and any health insurers from so openly subverting Obamacare while it remains the law of the land.

As highlighted by federal health regulators, Idahoans have seen over a 90-percent increase in their insurance premiums, forcing almost 100,000 Idahoans to go without health insurance.

But Verma struck a conciliatory tone with Gov. C.L.

Ms. Verma said while she appreciated Mr. Otter's attempt to address soaring costs, especially for unsubsidized customers, she couldn't look the other way.

When states don't enforce the law, she wrote, the federal government has to step in.

Her letter made it clear that Idaho's efforts to pursue innovative alternatives hold great promise, and we believe that Idaho's plan aligns with the State's responsibility for "substantially enforcing" Obamacare.

But the Trump administration has encouraged states to expand this limited carve-out into a parallel insurance market: When Obama was president, Americans were only allowed to stay on a short-term insurance plan for three months; Trump has proposed expanding that to 364 days - and to make the plans renewable after that. Cameron has told federal health officials he doesn't think those plans are as good for consumers, or have as many consumer protections built into them, as the "state-based" plans would.

It is a victory for the rule of law, given how openly Idaho was defying the ACA.