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Individual Mandate to the states? Senator Cassidy thinks so

Denny WeinbergDenny Weinberg

Photo of Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La, a major proponent of taking funding from Obamacare and transferring it to states so they can set up their own healthcare systems with an Individual Mandate if they choose.

Source: Washington Examiner  “Key author of Obamacare overhaul bill welcomes states taking own actions on individual mandate”  Dec. 18, 2017

Just as the Senate was voting on the new tax law, according to the Washington Examiner article cited above, Senator Bill Cassidy, R-La., suggests an interesting response to sunsetting the Individual Mandate for health insurance from federal law a year from now. Cassidy reminds readers that states could create their own Individual Mandate. The Individual Mandate is the provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) that requires individuals to have health insurance or face a penalty fee.

According to the reporter, “Cassidy has been a major proponent of taking funding from Obamacare and transferring it to states so they can set up their own healthcare systems … he welcomes the possibility that blue states could voluntarily create their own individual mandates or enact other measures in response to Congress repealing the penalties from Obamacare.”

Some states already have some form of state mandate, including Massachusetts, Washington D.C., Nevada and Hawaii. And others, energized by the change in federal law, may accelerate their own plans for state mandates, including California, Maryland and others, according to the article.

Cassidy notes this is much more the role of states than the federal government under our federal structure. In fact the McCarran–Ferguson Act, passed by the 79th Congress in 1945 exempts the business of insurance from most federal regulation, as long as the state regulates it. Most Americans experience this with state mandated Auto Liability Insurance (all but New Hampshire).

The states will begin to respond once the tax bill and funding the government are done. Together with the promised re-look at cost-sharing reduction subsidies, and market stabilizations (a promise to Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn), features could be added to attract or broad set of insurers in the individual market.

So 2018 could be an interesting year for expanded legislation in the individual health insurance market, but perhaps, according to Cassidy and others, more characterized by state actions, just as the federal law changes in 2019. According the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) the insurance markets in “almost all areas” of the country would remain stable, which is a good thing for our business.

Additional Resources:

Sample tweets – click on the images to link to the original tweet.

Image of tweet: Safety Pin-Daily: How states can save the individual mandate - Via Vox


Tweet image of Kaiser Family Foundation-How could Individual mandate repeal affect insurance market?

Denny Weinberg is a 35 year veteran executive in healthcare financing and operations. Prior to his 4 years as investor and CEO with Hixme, his broad background includes a 20 year tenure CEO of a number of Anthem's largest operating companies. Denny has managed a portfolio of early stage companies in the Health/Medical arena as well as other industries. He has also served as board member, advisor and consultant to both private equity-backed, and publicly traded Blue Chip companies.

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