How the allstate deal might affect renters’ insurance coverage
NEW YORK — As the federal government moves to overhaul the nation’s insurance marketplace, one question that will loom large in the months ahead is whether the Obama administration will be able to pass its own bill to make sure states and cities get the same benefits they received under the Affordable Care Act.
The administration will need to pass the measure, which would require insurance companies to cover certain preventive care, to avoid a federal lawsuit.
If that doesn’t happen, the administration could be forced to change its approach to allstate and other states’ insurance markets.
The administration could make the change to its law, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama in May 2010, under a provision in the federal health care law known as the Affordable Health Care Act known as ACA.
The ACA mandates that all Americans have health insurance coverage, but states and localities were allowed to opt out of it if they chose.
In a letter to congressional leaders this week, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said the administration is reviewing its legal options, and it is working with the states to see how they can meet the ACA’s requirements.
“We continue to consult closely with all 50 states and the District of Columbia to ensure that they have the flexibility to implement their health care plans in a manner consistent with the ACA,” Burwell wrote.
The letter was obtained by Bloomberg News.
The administration’s letter also said the federal law requires states to “make appropriate and timely adjustments” to plans that include coverage for certain preventive services.
The Department of Health and Human Services will review the states’ efforts, Burwell’s letter said.
Last week, Obama announced he was signing the Affordable Healthcare Act into law.
The law, signed by President Bill Clinton, requires Americans to have health coverage.
Some Democrats are asking whether the administration’s plan will still be in effect if the ACA is repealed.
If it is, then states could be allowed to make the changes they want to their insurance markets under the new law.
While Republicans are working on repealing the ACA, Obama and Democrats are moving forward with the expansion of the Medicaid program, which provides health care for low-income Americans, many of whom are uninsured.
Health and Human Service Secretary Sylvia B. Burwell.
The ACA mandates all Americans to obtain health insurance, but a number of states and municipalities are allowed to choose not to.
(AP Photo/Susan Walsh) Democrats have been working on the issue for weeks, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., saying he believes the ACA has been working as intended.
But some Republicans are concerned that the administration will not be able afford to make changes to states’ plans that have not passed the required changes to the ACA.
The Senate is expected to hold a vote on Burwells letter Thursday, according to a Democratic aide.
At a House hearing this week on the Affordable Housing Act, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, asked the administration to provide an estimate of the costs of complying with the new requirement.
The Office of Management and Budget said the Obama White House expects the cost of compliance to be $4.6 billion over the next decade.
The OMB said it does not have an estimate yet.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that oversees the ACA health care program, has said it expects to receive $8.4 billion in additional payments this year from insurers.