Biden administration suspends Georgia plan to block access to ACA website
Friday’s decision by the Biden administration will have no immediate effect on people who purchased insurance through the open market exchange.
Federal regulators have said Kemp’s planned market changes could violate federal rules on insurance waivers and result in too many people being excluded from coverage.
The letter from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, gives Georgia until July 28, 2022 to formulate a “corrective action plan…ensuring the waiver will provide coverage to a comparable number of residents, that the coverage will be at least as comprehensive and affordable as the coverage provided without the waiver, and that the waiver will not increase the federal deficit.
A Kemp spokeswoman said Friday her office is reviewing the Biden administration’s decision. Georgia’s previous letters to CMS have said Kemp’s plan will better meet the needs of Georgia’s currently underserved populations.
An opponent of the Kemp plan, Georgians for a Healthy Future director Laura Colbert, said the suspension was justified.
“Any plan that would significantly disrupt health insurance for 700,000 people should be carefully considered,” Colbert said in an emailed statement.
“Georgia leaders refused to answer questions about their plan to separate from healthcare.gov, and ignored evidence that their plan would mean some hard-working Georgians would lose coverage.”
The Biden administration and the Kemp administration have been in a tense correspondence about Kemp’s health care “waiver” plans for months. They are called waivers because the federal government agrees to waive a portion of federal law in order to allow a state to tailor the ACA program or the Medicaid program to the needs of the state.
The Trump administration agreed with the Kemp administration on the ideas behind all of their waivers and worked for years to develop plans that pushed waiver powers to new lengths, but it could still pass the court rally. They finished them near the very end of Trump’s term.
One of the Kemp waiver plans the Biden administration agreed to puts state money directly into insurance funds, reducing the cost of ACA plans, especially in rural areas. It is already in effect.
The plan to block purchases of ACA on healthcare.gov was one of two Kemp proposals that may well be decided in courts. The other is Kemp’s plan to extend Medicaid to the poor, but only if they meet a work requirement.