White House stops Idaho from ditching Obamacare
by Evan Wilt
Posted 3/09/18, 11:35 am
WASHINGTON—Trump administration officials on Thursday told Idaho it couldn’t circumvent certain Obamacare requirements, including pre-existing condition exclusions and mandatory coverage for maternity care. The state planned to offer health plans that don’t meet the standards of the Affordable Care Act in order to save money. Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), delivered a letter Thursday to Republican Idaho Gov. Butch Otter telling him the state needs to follow the health law. “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. However, the Affordable Care Act remains the law,” she wrote. The Department of Health and Human Services recently implemented an order to expand short-term health plans under Obamacare to grant some patients more flexibility. Democrats derided that order as “junk insurance.” Verma encouraged Idaho to take advantage of that option to lower costs. Obamacare took full effect in 2014. Since then, states have been the primary enforcers of its insurance rules, but according to the law, federal officials must intervene if a state fails to abide by Obamacare’s provisions.
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Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.