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Policy Update April 24

Monday, April 24, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jinny Palen
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Federal News

The White House’s path for passing legislation is being set by key provisions within the new "MacArthur Amendment" that includes Insurance Market Provisions and Limited Waiver Options. The Insurance Market Provisions appeal to moderate Republicans by reinstating Essential Health Benefits as the federal standard and maintaining the following provisions of the AHCA:

• Prohibition on denying coverage due to preexisting medical conditions
• Prohibition on discrimination based on gender
• Guaranteed issue of coverage to all applicants
• Guaranteed renewability of coverage
• Coverage of dependents on parents’ plan up to age 26
• Community rating rules, except for limited waivers
The Limited Waiver Option would create an option for states to obtain waivers from certain federal standards, in the interest of lowering premium costs and expanding the number of insured persons. Under the Amendment, states could seek waivers for Essential Health Benefits and the Community Rating Rules, except for rules regarding gender, age, and health status.

Under these waivers, states could effectively opt out of ACA standards setting essential health benefits and the community rating requirements. Both are provisions that the GOP’s ultraconservative Freedom Caucus has pushed to eliminate as part of the repeal and replace effort.


General MN Legislative News 

The Minnesota Legislature returned to work last week from the Easter/Passover break and focused on reconciling the different omnibus spending and tax bills that each chamber passed prior to the break. Legislators have five weeks to reconcile the ten spending bills that fund government operations for the upcoming FY18-19 biennium. Before bills can sent to the Governor, legislative leaders and the Governor must reach a “global agreement” on the level of tax and spending plans.  

HHS Conference Committee

This week the MN Health and Human Services (HHS) conference committee meet to review the similarities and differences between the Senate and House $14 billion HHS Omnibus bill. Conferees from the Senate include Senators Benson (R), Abeler (R), Housely (R), Utke (R), and Lourey (DFL), while the House appointed Representatives Dean (R), Schoemakcer (R), Kiel (R), Albright (R) and Schultz (DFL).

Overall, the Senate bill calls for $335 million of spending cuts while the House calls for $600 million in spending cuts.

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