Iowa withdrawing stopgap measure from federal consideration

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Doug Ommen, Iowa's insurance commissioner, sent a letter to HHS and the Treasury department Monday announcing the state would withdraw its section 1332 waiver request, according to The Des Moines Register.

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

The only insurer remaining in Iowa's Affordable Care Act marketplace for next year, Medica, is seeking premium increases that average 56 percent, blaming Mr. Trump's decision to stop paying subsidies known as cost-sharing reductions that lower many people's deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. The stopgap measure was meant to convince the companies to stay within the individual insurance marketplace.

Medica said in a statement that it is prepared to be the only individual insurance carrier in Iowa.

"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. In early October, an anonymous source told The Washington Post President Trump ordered CMS Administrator Seema Verma in August to deny Iowa's waiver request in an effort to undermine the ACA.

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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.

Ommen said Monday that the Trump administration had informed the state last week that it was still "several weeks" away from determining how much federal funding the state might receive as part of plan, a key part of the proposal.

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

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

Chuck Olson, chief executive of OCi Insurance and Financial Services, an Omaha company that works with insurance agents, said industry groups had doubted Iowa's proposal could be approved in time for 2018 even if the Trump administration had supported it. Iowa submitted the plan in mid-June. Obamacare is unaffordable, unsustainable and unworkable.

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