Second red state withdraws ObamaCare waiver aimed at shoring up market

Victoria Sarno Jordan

Iowa withdrew a waiver request to the federal government Monday that was aimed at helping the state’s insurance market, the second Republican-governed state to do so. 

Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) said in a joint statement with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma that ObamaCare’s rules are too restrictive for the request to work. 

The proposal would have expanded ObamaCare subsidies to higher-income earners and helped insurers who cover patients with high medical costs.


“Iowa pursued state flexibility through the Stopgap Measure, but ultimately, Obamacare is an inflexible law that Congress must repeal and replace,” Reynolds and Verma said.  

Iowa officials said the plan would have stabilized the state’s individual insurance market, where only one insurer is set to sell plans next year. 

That insurer, Medica, plans to increase premiums by an average of more than 57 percent. 

The Washington Post reported last month that President Trump told a top official within his administration to reject the proposal. 

The Trump administration also sent a letter to Iowa officials last week indicating that the state would need to come up with substantial funding if the waiver were to be approved.

Oklahoma also recently withdrew a waiver request to the federal government that would have stabilized its health insurance markets. 

The Oklahoma health commissioner said that approving the waiver would have helped more than 130,000 Oklahoma residents and reduced premiums by 30 percent.

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

Tags Iowa Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

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