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  • Washington Highlights

    Democratic Leaders Request More Information on Guidance for 1332 Waivers

    Jason Kleinman, Senior Legislative Analyst, Govt. Relations

    House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Ranking Members Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Richard Neal (D-Mass.) sent a joint letter Nov. 29 to top Trump administration officials expressing concern and requesting more information about the proposed changes to Section 1332 waivers.

    The letter is in response to an Oct. 22 guidance issued from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Treasury that will allow states to utilize a 1332 waiver to offer insurance plans that do not meet requirements set forth in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152).

    The letter — sent to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Internal Revenue Services Commissioner Charles Rettig — expresses concern “that this guidance is unlawful, will raise costs for older and vulnerable Americans, and will eliminate protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions.”

    Reps. Pallone and Neal note, “Having ‘access’ to coverage is not the same thing as having coverage, and the Administration’s attempt to read ‘access’ into the statute is transparency motivated by ideological opposition to the benefits and protections afforded by the ACA.”

    The letter requests answers to a series of detailed questions by Dec. 13, including how the administration came up with the proposed changes, a list of who was involved in the process, and an explanation on why the administration decided to promulgate 1332 guidance rather than go through a notice of proposed rulemaking.