Iowa Insurance Division announces stat will withdraw proposed stopgap measure

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At the press conference, Reynolds and Ommen criticized what they said was the ACA's inflexible, lengthy process for reviewing state waiver requests, saying the law requires time-consuming approvals from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury Department and other agencies and required filings and information that weren't available in time. "But Obamacare was written in an inflexible way, and Iowa could not receive the terms it needed to move forward with the stopgap measure".

"The healthiest will be the first to go", Ommen said.

"Iowa appreciates President Donald Trump and his administration's commitment to state states can administer healthcare systems that fit their needs", Reynolds said.

"It came down to the law".

Congress has failed to repeal and replace Obamacare or pass any kind of fix for the individual market.

"As written, the law hamstrings the administration's ability to help Iowa", Grassley said. "Obamacare is unaffordable, unsustainable and unworkable".

"Premiums under Obamacare have increased 110% for Iowans since 2013, and thousands of Iowans can no longer afford health insurance", Governor Kim Reynolds and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said in a joint statement.

Iowa's withdrawal comes only a week before this year's enrollment period opens November 1 and despite the state insurance division's warning that without the plan, 22,000 Iowans will drop out of the market.

Wellmark said in a statement that the stopgap measure was "the most innovative attempt to address the challenges with the individual Affordable Care Act market in the country" and would have made individual insurance more affordable and the state's insurance market more stable.

The plan would have restructured benefits for Iowans getting individual insurance under the Affordable Care Act in order to draw in more young healthy people to keep premiums down.

State officials had complained that large of an increase would significantly hurt people who don't buy on the marketplace or don't qualify for federal tax credits. Medica, the last remaining insurer in Iowa's individual market, announced in June they were increasing their rates by 57 percent.

So far, the Trump administration has granted state innovation waivers to three states, Alaska, Minnesota, and OR; they will use federal money to help insurers cover the claims of their most expensive customers next year, with the intent of lowering premiums.

Reynolds said the lack of the waiver will hit farmers, self-employed Iowans, early retirees and others who rely on individual insurance coverage.

Critics said approving the Iowa waiver would have paved the way for other states to follow, eroding the health law's protections for low- and middle-income Americans. But, so far, she said, Republicans "have done everything possible to undermine Obamacare". Verma was the member of the administration with whom the president spoke in August after reading a Wall Street Journal article about the state's plan, said an individual briefed on the exchange who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose a private conversation.

State Sen. David Johnson, an Ocheyedan independent, said the situation calls for presidential leadership but the current approach appears to be to allow Obamacare to fail in hopes the GOP-led Congress will replace it.