Health Reform WK-EDGE HHS seeks public comment on market improvement strategies
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Monday, June 19, 2017

HHS seeks public comment on market improvement strategies

By Kayla R. Bryant, J.D.

HHS’ next step in health reform is to collect public comment on existing regulations surrounding affordability of coverage, consumer choice, marketplace stability, and state regulatory authority over health insurance markets. This request is part of agency compliance with Executive Order (EO) 13765, which instructed all executive departments and agencies to reduce the economic and regulatory burdens of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L. 111-148) (Notice, 82 FR 26885, June 12, 2017).

Questions. HHS’ request for comment covers four particular areas, with prompting questions included:

  • empowering patients and promoting consumer choice;
  • stabilizing the individual, small group, and non-traditional health insurance markets;
  • enhancing affordability; and
  • affirming the traditional regulatory authority of the states in regulating the business of health insurance.

The questions generally ask about potential activities the agency could undertake to best serve consumers in choosing their health plans and financing, stabilize the risk pool, increase the number of consumers purchasing plans, enhancing affordability for individuals and small businesses, and better allow states to regulate their own markets.

Executive Order. EO 13765 sought to make the health care market more open and flexible and reduce fiscal and regulatory burdens on individuals, providers, insurers, and health care companies, as well as encourage cooperation with states in implementing health programs. HHS will continue to analyze regulations issued under the ACA to determine whether they advance or impede the administration’s goals in improving the market. In recent months, the agency has issued guidance on small business enrollment, direct enrollment for individuals in certain states, and advised states of their ability to submit state innovation waivers.

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