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Senate health bill likely to have state waivers

(Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

The Senate is considering state waivers that would allow them to opt out of several of the the Affordable Care Act's insurer regulations, but not the ones protecting people with pre-existing conditions, according to several GOP aides.

Major Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday presented members with a range of topics they must make decisions about while writing the Senate health care bill. While a lot of the presentation was a recap of what's been discussed over the last month, a firmer state waiver policy recommendation was made.

What could be waived, according to senior GOP aides:

  • The ACA's essential health benefits.
  • Its regulation on how much of insurers' premium revenue must be spent on claims, called the Medical Loss Ratio requirement.
  • Its age rating band allowing older people to be charged no more than three times as much as younger people.

What couldn't be waived:

  • The ACA's provision that insurers must offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Its prohibition on plans charging people with pre-existing conditions more than healthy people. (The House allowed waivers of this provision under limited circumstances.)

The problem: Conservatives didn't like the idea, wanting more of the regulations to be waived.