The ObamaCare Straightjacket – Section 1332 Waivers are a Fool’s Errand, Not an ObamaCare Escape Hatch

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

State lawmakers across the country are looking for an escape hatch from ObamaCare. A number of health care consultants have recommended Section 1332 waivers as a cure for ObamaCare’s biggest problems, promising that states will gain unprecedented flexibility to implement innovative, state-led
reforms. This is a dangerous idea.

Instead of an innovative escape hatch from ObamaCare, Section 1332 waivers create a stranglehold on state-led reform initiatives. Lawmakers exploring these waivers under the false promise of “flexibility” will be disappointed. After all, Washington bureaucrats hold all the cards and they are interested in only one thing: protecting and expanding ObamaCare.

These waivers will only make ObamaCare’s impact on states worse, not better. States would be required to provide benefits at least as generous as ObamaCare, cap cost sharing at least as low as ObamaCare, and cover at least as many people as ObamaCare. Worse yet, experimenting with these waivers would put state taxpayers at risk for cost overruns for federal programs.

Section 1332 is not an escape hatch from ObamaCare. As the Obama administration itself stresses, it is
a backdoor to implement even more liberal welfare policies.