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Monday afternoon Iowa Insurance Division Commissioner Doug Ommen announced that Iowa is withdrawing its Stopgap Measure (Section 1332 Waiver) from federal consideration. The measure was designed to help Iowans who have been impacted by rising premiums. Medica, the last remaining insurer in Iowa’s individual market, announced in June they were increasing their rates by 57 percent.

As the state made adjustments to the Stopgap Measure to cover certain levels of out-of-pocket cost for low-income Iowans. As Iowa made those adjustments, the Stopgap Measure became more expensive and it looked less and less like state flexibility and more like Obamacare.

“Premiums under Obamacare have increased 110% for Iowans since 2013, and thousands of Iowans can no longer afford health insurance,” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said in a joint statement. “Iowa pursued state flexibility through the Stopgap Measure, but ultimately, Obamacare is an inflexible law that Congress must repeal and replace. Obamacare is unaffordable, unsustainable and unworkable.”

“Obamacare is an unworkable law,” IID Commissioner Ommen said. “The Stopgap Measure was an innovative solution to help thousands of Iowans. Unfortunately, Obamacare’s waiver rules are so inflexible that the Stopgap cannot be approved under terms that would be workable for Iowa. This is evidenced by the fact that a bipartisan group of senators recently announced a bill to fix some of the inflexibilities on Obamacare’s waiver provision that Iowa has run into.”

“Obamacare’s Section 1332 says that states can file for an innovative waiver, but if those states are facing a failing market, and if they are successful in stabilizing the market and bringing people back in, the waiver will not work. In other words, the title of Section 1332—’state innovation waivers—is an oxymoron,” Ommen added.

Reynolds on Twitter announced that she was going to urge Vice President Mike Pence to continue to push for Obamacare’s repeal and replacement when she meets with him tomorrow.

Iowa Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake) responded to the news on Twitter.

President Donald Trump earlier this month signed an executive order in order to promote healthcare choice and competition. He ordered the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services to consider proposing regulations or revising guidance that helps expand Association Health Plans, short-term plans, and health reimbursement accounts. It is unclear how quickly the rulemaking process will be complete in order for Americans to see any benefit.

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

Iowans eligible for Obamacare subsidies or who can afford the premiums will be able to sign up for health insurance on healthcare.gov, starting November 1, 2017, with Medica.

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