"We sincerely appreciate your dedication to the people of Idaho and your efforts to address the damage caused by the PPACA [Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act]", CMS Administrator Seema Verma wrote in a letter Thursday to Governor C.L.
In blocking the Idaho insurance plans, Verma warned that violators could face civil fines of up to $100 per day per enrollee.
A USA government agency on Thursday said Idaho could not allow health insurers to sell plans that do not comply with Obamacare, a sign that the Trump administration will enforce the law even as it takes regulatory actions to weaken it.
The move from Verma on Thursday was notable because it was a Republican administration stepping in to enforce ObamaCare and prevent a plan to get around its rules by a Republican governor. Butch Otter that allowed insurers to start offering state-based plans that didn't comply with the ACA as long as they also offered ACA-compliant plans.
Idaho unveiled its plans in late January, and did not seek approval from the federal government before announcing it would allow insurers in the state to allow plans that don't comply with coverage requirements in the ACA. For weeks, the White House refused to say whether Idaho would be allowed to pick and choose which federal laws it wished to follow.
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She also downplayed a link made by Trump between NAFTA and the metals tariffs, saying they were separate issues. Calling steelworkers the "backbone of America", Trump called steel vital to United States national security.
Otter said Friday that, despite a letter warning the state about its plans this week, the Trump administration is not asking the state to back down and discussions remain open.
CMS's decision will also likely dissuade other states from pursuing a proposal similar to Idaho's.
Verma wrote that Idaho has 30 days to respond to CMS about its concerns Idaho may not be substantially enforcing the Public Health Service Act based on the Bulletin. Health policy experts had believed other Republican states would have followed if Idaho were allowed to go forward. This means that plans can discriminate against people with preexisting medical conditions, by charging them higher premiums, and impose caps on the benefits their customers receive. "Butch" Otter and Idaho Insurance Department Director Dean Cameron that "this is certainly not our preference", saying the state could meaningfully implement numerous same goals legally through short-term, limited-duration plans.
Blue Cross of Idaho was the only insurer to take them up on the offer.
Blue Cross of Idaho announced soon afterwards that the insurer would offer these skinny plans which would have charged sick people more than healthy people. But responsibility for enforcing said law lay with Trump's Health and Human Services Department, which has been flagrantly violating the spirit of Obamacare for more than a year now.