Iowa's stopgap measure is dead

Henrietta Strickland
October 24, 2017

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen announced on Monday that the state is withdrawing its "stopgap" proposal to revamp the Affordable Care Act marketplace in the state.

State Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen estimates as many as 22,000 Iowans will find the premiums for individual health policies too expensive and will go without insurance next year.

That means 72,000 Iowans for sure will have only one choice for individual and family health plans when open enrollment begins November 1: Medica of Minnetonka, Minnesota.

Ommen said federal officials last week said the law required Iowa to submit projections that weren't available.

The state will now proceed with just one company, Medica, providing individual insurance under Obamacare. We had low premiums. Reynolds contends "Iowa is the first state of many" that will face the collapse of its individual insurance market.

"Bureaucracy at its finest", Reynolds said at one point, although she also praised the agencies for trying to work with Iowa officials on the request.

However, the news also comes about two weeks after the Washington Post reported that President Trump had personally called the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services in August to direct that the application for a waiver be denied.

A main trigger for the decision to table Iowa's "stop gap" plan to help Iowans buy individual insurance policies came last Friday when the U.S. Treasury Department notified Iowa its calculations on Iowa's waiver request wouldn't be done for "several weeks".

The measure was an approach to "relieve Iowans suffering" under the Affordable Care Act.

"Iowa pursued state flexibility through the Stopgap Measure, but ultimately, Obamacare is an inflexible law that Congress must repeal and replace".

"We're looking at any and every option that we can", Reynolds said.

"Congress needs to do its job and fix this law", Reynolds said.

But the Trump administration missed a deadline to approve the waiver, resulting in higher premiums for 2018, officials said.

Governor Reynolds' administration had been urging the federal government to approve its so-called stopgap plan.

"Republicans have done everything possible to undermine ObamaCare and they have failed to provide a workable, bipartisan alternative to help Iowans who need health care security", said Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines).

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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