Major Health Policy Developments coming out of the Federal Administration

While Congressional efforts to change or repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) continue to be stalled, the federal administration announced two significant health policy developments at the end of last week – an Executive Order aimed at promoting access to plans not subject to the full range of ACA protections as well as the decision to stop making cost-sharing reduction payments immediately. [More]

Developments in Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

Progress has continued on state efforts to secure Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers. Oregon submitted a waiver application at the end of August, seeking support for a state-based reinsurance program, and that application has since been determined complete. Iowa submitted two recent updates to its pending waiver application, which it initially submitted in June. Its waiver application has also now been determined complete.

While those states await decisions on their applications, at the end of September, Minnesota received approval of its Section 1332 Waiver application that it submitted in May. [More]

Developments in Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

Halfway through the first year that states are eligible to implement Section 1332 Waivers, and with states seeking to stabilize their markets in the face of uncertainty at the Federal level, the pace is picking up on Section 1332 Waivers. In recent weeks, there have been two major developments on this front with the Federal government approving Alaska’s waiver request and Iowa submitting an unprecedented emergency and abbreviated Section 1332 Waiver request. More details on both of those developments are below. Additionally, the Federal agencies made a preliminary determination on June 20th that Minnesota’s Section 1332 Waiver application is complete starting the clock on review and approval. [More]

The latest news from D.C.

Following the failure in the Senate to pass various legislative proposals – the Better Care Reconciliation Act (the Senate version of repeal and replace), the straight repeal option, or the “skinny repeal” bill – last week, Senate leadership has continued to say that they are moving on to other agenda items for now. However, there still seem to be daily updates from D.C. Several new proposals have come to the forefront in the past week. Senators Cassidy and Graham have proposed block granting Affordable Care Act (ACA) funding (including related to premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions) to the states, providing them with the [More]

Update on the Senate’s efforts to Repeal parts of the ACA

After releasing the Better Care Reconciliation Act at the end of last week, leadership in the U.S. Senate announced this week that it will not be voting on the bill before the July 4th Congressional recess as planned. Instead efforts are underway to overhaul the bill, with a vote is expected sometime after the recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that he intends to submit a new version of the bill to be scored by the Congressional Budget Office today. [More]

Section 1332 State Innovation Waiver – Recent developments and the newly-released checklist

In follow-up to its letter to Governors regarding the Section 1332 Waiver opportunity, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Treasury released a Section 1332 checklist on May 16 designed to help states pursue ACA State Innovation Waivers. Section 1332 of the ACA allows states to waive specific ACA provisions as long as they apply according to the process set out in regulations and meet the following comparability requirements:

• The waiver will provide coverage to at least a comparable number of the state’s residents as would be provided without the waiver;
• The waiver will provide coverage and cost-sharing protections that are at least as affordable as would be provided without the waiver;
• The waiver will provide for coverage that is at least as comprehensive as would be provided without the waiver; and
• The waiver will not increase the federal deficit. [More]

New ACA-Related announcements from the Federal Administration

The administration is taking more limited steps to influence implementation of the law, including two upcoming changes to enrollment through Marketplaces announcements last month. On May 15, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it will be proposing a rule to have enrollment into Federally-facilitated Small Business Marketplace (known as Small Business Health Options Program or “SHOP”) health insurance plans go directly through insurers as of 2018. Two days later, on May 17, CMS released guidance enabling (but not requiring) full direct enrollment in individual market Federally-facilitated Marketplace (FFM) plans starting for open enrollment for plan year 2018. [More]

PCG creates summary of the House-passed health care bill

The American Health Care Act (“the bill”) passed the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017. As outlined in greater detail in the PCG summary, the bill does not repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in full, but rather proposes changes primarily focused on the ACA’s insurance affordability, Medicaid expansion, coverage requirements and revenue provisions. It also proposes changes to Medicaid funding more generally and allows states to waive medical underwriting prohibitions. [More]

States continue to pursue Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

With repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) stalled, states are increasingly considering Section 1332 Waivers as a way to expand upon or customize the ACA to best address the unique circumstances within the state. Alaska and Oklahoma are the two most recent states to take formal steps toward State Innovation Waivers, both states following on the heels of the recent Section 1332 Waiver approval granted to Hawaii, which we summarized in the February edition of Health Policy News. [More]

House Committees move forward on ACA repeal

The House took a major step in advancing action on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the filing of the American Health Care Act. The bill, which was filed in the House of Representatives on March 6, 2017, is a compilation of budget reconciliation packages from the House Ways & Means Committee and the House Energy & Commerce Committee, in follow-up to the budget resolution adopted in January. [More]