Idaho's health insurance waiver rejected: 'CMS pulled the rug out from under us,' lawmakers say

CMS didn't grant Idaho's request to expand health insurance subsidies to residents between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty level regardless of Medicaid status, according to an Aug. 29 letter from CMS.

CMS said Idaho's request, which was submitted July 15, lacked necessary information. The agency said even if Idaho resubmitted its request with the correct information, the proposal would not meet federal guidelines.

In an Aug. 29 statement released by Republican Gov. Brad Little and Idaho legislative leaders, state officials expressed disappointment and surprise at the government's decision. 

"Simply put, CMS pulled the rug out from under us," the leaders said. "For months, state agencies worked closely with the federal agencies on the purpose and goals of the waiver application. We shared multiple strategies and considerations about how Idaho would approach the cost neutrality portion of the application. At no time during those conversations did the federal government indicate Idaho's approach to the budget neutrality guardrail would be insufficient for consideration." 

Idaho lawmakers said the waiver remains a high priority and that the state is taking steps to submit additional information to CMS. 

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