A very interesting ACA development is taking place in Massachusetts today as the state that “inspired” Obamacare tries to reconcile its current law with the new federal law. Push back in the compliance effort is coming from an unexpected source, the senior Democratic budget writer in the State Senate, Senator Stephen Brewer, presumably with support from the Senate President as well. The amendment that was filed would force President Obama’s good friend Governor Deval Patrick (D), and his Administration, to seek a waiver from certain elements of Obamacare. The move could come to a head if the provision lands on the Governor’s desk, resulting in an embarrassing political moment for the Obama Administration since the ACA is forcing significant changes to a state law they claim acted as a model in Washington.
Turns out, the conventional wisdom comparing Romneycare and Obamacare has proven to be overly simplistic, as this is the third ACA-related bill being debated in the Commonwealth. The latest sizable 100-section bill controversially writes into law an abdication of insurance regulation to the federal government and is the basis for the amendment. While state officials have known for some time that the ACA-required changes to rating factors would result in “extreme premium increases” and spike premiums for 60% of small companies (some as high as 50+%) in the state, the best the Patrick Administration could do was spread the increases out over 3 years under an agreement from CMS.