The US Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance on Section 1332 waivers in the Affordable Care Act to reverse a decision that had previously discouraged states from pursuing meaningful healthcare reform.

Buckeye’s Rea S. Hederman Jr., a nationally recognized healthcare policy expert, praised the decision in The Hillwriting, “Rescinding the Obama-era guidance on Section 1332 waivers can shine a new ray of proverbial light in the darkness. It signals to states that they may once again propose flexible, creative solutions to some of the most difficult policy problems that the states and the country face.”

The Buckeye Institute has been loudly calling for these changes for years — and was the first to do so in its seminal report Returning Health Care Power to the States, co-authored by Hederman. Hederman continued beating the reform drum speaking to national meetings and conferences and publishing original research on the topic, including a report for the Mercatus Center entitled Federal Efforts to Stabilize ACA Individual Markets through State Innovation.

Hederman also wrote numerous opinion pieces and wrote in The Hill that the Trump Administration should revise the Obama-era guidance and should “follow the plain text of the Affordable Care Act that specifically allows states to combine Medicaid and innovation waivers so that they can find more effective ways for citizens to get better healthcare coverage as they leave Medicaid.”

This new guidance does not remove all of Washington’s bureaucratic hurdles, but it does remove a number of onerous regulatory burdens, and gives more power to states to address health care reform in a way that allows them to best serve their citizens. These are changes that Buckeye fought to fix in many direct meetings with White House and Health and Human Services officials.

In celebrating the victory for states, Hederman said, “States now have new flexibility in how they offer health coverage to their citizens — an important first step in fulfilling the potential of the innovation waivers. We urge the Trump Administration and Congress to make further changes, which will enable the states to fix their healthcare systems and address the rising cost of health care.”