Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia Burwell asking about the agency’s preparations for states to apply for waivers under the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
Wyden, who wrote the provision in the 2010 ACA, said he hoped to see it “implemented as intended,” noting that it should be a tool for states to improve on their progress, not to “deconstruct the law, remove protections, or make it harder for Americans to get affordable, quality health coverage.”
He asked about the department’s vision for the waivers and its progress so far, saying there “also appears to be some confusion as to how SIWs work with Medicaid,” referring to state innovation waivers. “A SIW does not give states authority to change Medicaid and CHIP,” he wrote in the letter dated Nov. 18. “However, it is my hope that a state will be able to use a SIW in conjunction with a Medicaid waiver to align health coverage, innovate to improve quality outcomes, ensure better continuity of care.”