Administration Announces New Steps to Support Innovation, Empower States Under the Affordable Care Act

Last week, the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Treasury proposed new rules outlining the steps states may pursue in order to receive a State Innovation Waiver under the Affordable Care Act. The announcement came shortly after President Obama expressed his commitment to ensure states have the power and flexibility to innovate and implement the health care solutions that work best for them. (NOTE: This should help to make Pennsylvania’s efforts for single payer health care more feasible.)


The Affordable Care Act gives states the flexibility to receive a State Innovation Waiver so they may pursue their own innovative strategies to ensure their residents have access to high quality, affordable health insurance.


Under the law, State Innovation Waivers are available in 2017. President Obama supports bipartisan legislation that would make waivers available to states beginning in 2014.


State Innovation Waivers are designed to allow states to implement policies that differ from those in the Affordable Care Act so long as they:


  • Provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage offered through Health Insurance Exchanges – new competitive, private health insurance marketplaces.
  • Make coverage at least as affordable as it would have been through the Exchanges.
  • Provide coverage to at least as many residents as otherwise would have been covered under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Do not increase the federal deficit.
  • The proposed regulation announced today describes the content of the waiver application and how such proposals may be disclosed to the public, monitored, and evaluated. The Administration welcomes suggestions for improving this process from states, patients, health care providers, and the general public.

For more information about flexibilities provided to states under the Affordable Care Act, go to


For a fact sheet about the proposed process for states to adopt innovative strategies to meet the goals of the Affordable Care Act, go to

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