Internal memo shows Verma cautioned against ACA changes

CMS Administrator Seema Verma warned HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a private memo last August that implementing three healthcare policy changes could collectively cause health insurance enrollment to drop by 1.1 million, Politico first reported.

The memo lists the following three policies:

  • Banning "silver loading," or the practice of increasing rates for silver plans, which is used by insurers to offset the loss of cost-sharing reduction payments in 2017.
  • Ending automatic reenrollment in ACA plans.
  • Changing an indexing methodology that would effectively reduce subsidies for health insurance.

"[W]e recommend not moving forward with changes to any of the first three policies for the 2020 payment year. … Underlying this recommendation is our view that the first three issues under consideration will disproportionately impact unsubsidized enrollees; undermine the limited progress made thus far in stabilizing the market; and set back the administration's priorities of devolving power to states, increasing affordability, and expanding consumer choice in health insurance coverage," Ms. Verma wrote in the memo.

Despite Ms. Verma's recommendations, the indexing methodology was ultimately changed, according to Politico. The administration has not moved forward with the other two policies.

House Democrats now say the memo is evidence the Trump administration was working to weaken the ACA, Politico reported.

In a letter to Mr. Azar, House Democratic leaders called the move to finalize policies against the recommendation of Ms. Verma "deeply troubling" and "part of the administration's continuing efforts to sabotage the individual market, undermine the ACA, hinder consumers' access to comprehensive health care coverage, and weaken protections for people with preexisting conditions." 

 

More articles on leadership and management:

Augusta University Health System restructures top post in face of $24M net loss
Planned Parenthood to host women's health forum for Democrats
Mitt Romney wants to revive ACA replacement talks

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