The Trump administration is exploring ways to excuse more Americans from the requirement that they prove they’re insured in the remaining months before the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate is laid to rest.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is working on guidance expanding the “hardship” exemptions from the 2010 health-care law’s mandate that people purchase health plans, according to two people familiar with the effort. Agency officials haven’t yet finalized the guidance, but aim to increase the number of reasons people could cite as justifications for not showing they’re insured when they file their tax returns.
The administration’s expected move comes as Republicans’ legislative efforts to repeal the 2010 law, known as Obamacare, and replace it with a new system has stalled. Instead, Trump administration officials are increasingly turning to executive actions and regulations to weaken the ACA, including cutting off billions in federal reimbursements insurers receive for lower-income customers, shrinking the annual enrollment period and scaling back federal money to promote sign-ups under the law.
Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump repealed the individual mandate in their tax overhaul that passed last year. But the requirement to purchase coverage doesn’t end until 2019. The additional exemptions would apply to the current year, meaning they could be cited by filers preparing their 2018 taxes next year.
The Health and Human Services Department, which oversees CMS, declined to comment on the guidance Wednesday.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Paige Winfield Cunningham, Juliet Eilperin