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State Innovation Waivers are Working to Lower Premiums for Consumers


WASHINGTON, DC – Rather than have a meaningful conversation about how to reduce health care costs for consumers, Democrats are playing political games – limiting the ability of states to innovate and develop health care choices that have worked to lower premiums.

In October 2018, the Trump administration released updated guidance for Section 1332 waivers. These waivers make it easier for states to repair their markets damaged by Obamacare and to pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining basic patient protections. However, House Democrats introduced H.R. 986, which would revoke this Section 1332 guidance.

Why would Democrats be opposed to states innovating on behalf of their citizens? Why would they be opposed to providing patients flexible and affordable insurance options that best fit their needs?

Eight states—Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, and Wisconsin—have approved state innovation waivers.

These waivers work. Seven of those states (AK, MD, ME, MN, NJ, OR, WI) created their own reinsurance programs using Section 1332. According to a recent study, premiums in these states were 19.9% lower, on average, in the first year of enactment, ranging from -6% to -43.4%.

This is another example of Democrats thinking Washington knows best, and they want to rob states of the authority to oversee many aspects of their health care markets.

The Democrats’ bill fails to address the underlying problem: Obamacare is not working for many Americans who cannot afford the ever increasing premium and deductibles. This bill makes no structural changes to improve access to or delivery of care.

So instead of having a constructive, bipartisan dialogue about helping states innovate and providing options for patients who are struggling to make ends meet, Democrats want to play politics.


Health (116th Congress)