Georgia’s ACA Waiver Flouts Federal Law, Drawing a Legal Challenge

By Justin Giovannelli, JoAnn Volk, and Kevin Lucia

From its first days to its last, the Trump administration sought to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and promote insurance arrangements that discriminate against people with preexisting conditions. To these ends, in 2018, the administration issued guidance rolling back consumer safeguards governing the ACA’s “state innovation” waiver program and encouraging states to seek waivers that flout federal law. Though for a time, this legally dubious guidance served only to deter states from using waivers to support progressive reforms, the administration eventually found, in Georgia, state officials willing to pursue an ACA end-run.

Relying on the administration’s guidance, Georgia’s leaders decided to eliminate the state’s health insurance marketplace. Their plan, developed prior to COVID-19 and doggedly pursued as the pandemic raged, will fragment Georgia’s individual market and almost certainly make it harder for residents to find and enroll in affordable, comprehensive coverage. In their latest post for the Commonwealth Fund’s To the Point blog, CHIR’s Justin Giovannelli, JoAnn Volk, and Kevin Lucia assess the potential impact if Georgia is able to implement its proposal. You can read the full post here.

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