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Neighbors Growing Together | Nov 24, 2017

Iowa withdrawing Obamacare alternative plan

By Ed Tibbetts, Quad-City Times | Oct 24, 2017

DES MOINES — Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen announced on Monday that the state is withdrawing its “stopgap” proposal to revamp the Affordable Care Act marketplace in the state.

Ommen made the announcement at a news conference in Des Moines with Gov. Kim Reynolds this afternoon.

The withdrawal comes only a week before this year’s ACA enrollment period will open and despite the state insurance division’s warning that without the plan, 22,000 Iowans will drop out of the individual insurance market.

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.

Ommen and Reynolds blamed the Affordable Care Act for the situation, with the insurance commissioner saying the part of the 2010 law that allows for states to propose their own changes is too inflexible.

However, the news also comes about two weeks after the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump had personally called the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services in August to direct that the application for a waiver be denied.

Monday’s announcement means that Minnesota-based Medica will be the only insurer in the Affordable Care Act marketplace in Iowa for 2018. Ommen said it will sell policies in all 99 counties.

Medica said that its premium rates would go up by an average of about 57 percent in 2018.

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.

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