07.11.17

Alexander on Alaska State Health Innovation Waiver: Draft Senate Health Care Bill Would Allow Secretary Price to Throw Lifeline to More States, Faster

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 11 – Senate health committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following statement on the news that Health and Human Services Secretary Price granted Alaska a State Innovation Waiver under section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act:

“This waiver ought to be a big help for Alaska as it works to stabilize the state’s individual insurance market where Alaskans who don’t get their insurance on the job or from the government buy their insurance. But the draft Senate health care bill would give Secretary Price the authority to throw this lifeline to more struggling states and give him the emergency authority to expedite waivers for states like Alaska—which is down to one insurer on the state’s collapsing Affordable Care Act exchange. ”  

Background: Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of the Treasury approved Alaska’s application for a State Innovation Waiver under section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to implement the state’s reinsurance program.  

According to HHS, as a result of today’s waiver approval “more consumers in Alaska may have coverage, consumers will see lower premiums, and the State will receive federal funds to cover a substantial portion of State costs” for the state’s reinsurance program.

The draft Senate health care bill released on June 22 would give HHS Secretary Price the authority to grant the kind of waiver that Alaska received today to more states and provide HHS the emergency authority to grant a waiver more quickly for states like Alaska facing collapsing individual insurance markets. In addition to Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming only have one insurer offering ACA exchange plans in the entire state this year. Nine states have only one insurer offering ACA exchange plans in a majority of the counties in the state this year: Tennessee, North Carolina, West Virginia, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Mississippi, Missouri, and Florida. Next year, HHS projects that 40 counties may have no insurance companies on their ACA exchanges.

Hawaii is the only other state to date that has been provided a State Innovation Waiver under the ACA.

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For access to this release and Chairman Alexander’s other statements, click here.

 

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