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As Some States Make Plans to Codify Their Own Individual Mandate, Others Try To Dismantle the ACA

Last December, Congress passed the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017,” which was considered Republican House and Senate leadership’s only legislative victory for this congressional session. A major component of the tax reform bill was the repeal of the Individual Mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that required individuals to have health insurance or to pay a fine – a move that’s expected to leave 13 million without health coverage over the next decade.

To minimize this potential damage, some states are considering implementing their own individual mandate-like requirements. Massachusetts has had their own individual mandate on the books since 2006. Nine other states, including California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia, are developing their plans for how this would work in their states.

These considerations also come as several other states are working at dismantling the ACA even further. Most flagrantly, Idaho governor C.L. “Butch” Otter issued an executive order last month allowing insurers in the state to sell plans that do not meet the requirements of the ACA, which would be technically illegal under the federal law. Health advocates are calling this the first test for Alex Azar, the new Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, who was only confirmed to the position on January 24. How he responds to the illegal plans, first announced by Blue Cross of Idaho on Wednesday, will signal how far the Trump Administration is willing to go to undermine the Obama-era law.

The passage of the ACA was particularly important for people living with HIV, as it was the first federal health legislation prohibiting discrimination against people with pre-existing or chronic health conditions seeking coverage. AIDS United will continue to work with our organizational partners and allies in Congress to protect gains made under the ACA.

Posted By: AIDS United, Policy Department - Friday, February 16, 2018

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