Trump administration gives states new power to weaken Obamacare
The Trump administration is throwing open the door to states to make major changes to their Obamacare markets.
States can now apply for newly broadened waivers to create alternatives to the Affordable Care Act program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Monday. They could use this enhanced power to determine who gets financial assistance to pay premiums and to change what types of coverage are prioritized in the individual market.
The announcement comes just two weeks ahead of the midterm elections. Health care ranks as one of Americans’ top priorities, prompting candidates to attack each other on who would do more to reduce costs and protect those with pre-existing conditions.
The move will increase affordable insurance options, while retaining protections for those with pre-existing conditions, said CMS Administrator Seema Verma.
“The guidance that was in place before was really too restrictive and was thwarting innovation,” Verma said. “We feel like this version provides that level of flexibility.”
She added that the administration’s goal was “to get states out from under Obamacare’s onerous rules.”
Health policy experts, however, immediately countered that it could leave low-income, older or sicker residents with fewer choices and higher costs while favoring the young and healthy.