Idaho officials are still at it, meeting with CMS this week to continue the back-and-forth discussion about the future of the state's push to sell insurance plans that don't comply with the Affordable Care Act's coverage requirements.
Dean Cameron, the state's insurance commissioner, told The Hill that Wednesday's meeting with officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services centered on potential changes that could move the state's proposal forward.
Idaho unveiled in January a plan to offer "state-based" health plans that would be more affordable but would cover fewer services than the ACA mandates. Blue Cross of Idaho was the first payer to announce it would participate in the program.
CMS blocked the proposal last week. Administrator Seema Verma said that though she supports Idaho's goal of offering affordable insurance to its residents, selling the plans is against the law.
In response to Verma's letter, Cameron, Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Lieutenant Gov. Brad Little said the ruling was "not a rejection" of their plan, and instead was a sign that they should continue pushing for the program.
Cameron told The Hill that Verma "listened" to the state officials' arguments and concerns at the meetings, but added that he didn't want to speak for her views or what she'd do next.
Little said in a statement that the meeting provided him with a better understanding of where both sides stand on the issue.
"After these discussions, I believe they understand where we are coming from a bit better, and we understand their position better," Little said.
"Moving forward, I am very optimistic that we can work together with the Trump administration to implement an Idaho-based solution for healthcare that works for Idahoans and fulfills the goals of Idaho's executive order."
Little didn't specify what exactly was covered at the meeting, but said that there was "a great deal of misunderstanding" between state officials and CMS about the proposal. He said they were able to alleviate some of those concerns during the meeting.
Verma said in her letter that with some "modifications" the state-based plans could become short-term insurance plans. The Department of Health and Human Services issued a proposed rule in February that would expand the enrollment period for such plans from three months to 12 months.