What We're Reading: Waivers for States; Minnesota Eyes Premiums; Genetic Bill Concern

Loosened Waiver Rules for States

As Republicans move forward with fierce opposition to their Affordable Care Act replacement bill, the Trump administration is making changes to Obamacare. HHS has announced it is loosening restrictions on the use of section 1332 waivers for states to receive funding, reported Reuters. The waivers help states offset costs for high-risk patients, state-operated reinsurance programs, and other premium-stabilization programs. The Obama administration had been tightening the use of these waivers.

Minnesota Takes Aim at Rising Premiums

A new reinsurance program in Minnesota would use nearly $400 million every 2 years to help prevent rising premiums. AP reported that the bill, introduced by the state’s Republican-controlled House, uses the money to help insurers cover expensive claims and prevent premiums from going up. While Republicans claimed the move could reduce rates for people who buy insurance on the individual market by up to 18%, Democrats almost unanimously voted against the bill because they felt the cost was too high with no guarantee of success.

Price Concerned Over Genetic Information Bill

The House bill that would allow employers access to workers’ genetic information has one high-profile individual with reservations: HHS Secretary Tom Price. According to STAT, Price expressed concerns with the idea of the bill while on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” The bill skirts a current law that prohibits employers from requiring genetic testing by incorporating the tests into workplace wellness programs. Employees who opt out could face financial penalties under the new bill.