Arizona claims health care reform should happen on the local, not federal, level
Arizona is among the 26 states that have risen up to challenge the Affordable Care Act, the federal health care law often referred to as “Obamacare.” These states claim that the federal government has overstepped its boundaries in passing the law. These claims primarily concern a handful of provisions found within the Affordable Care Act, one of which makes health insurance coverage mandatory for all U.S. citizens. Arizona, in particular, believes that the key problem with the Affordable Care Act is that it was enacted by the federal government and not by individual states.
Fate of federal health care reform up to the Supreme Court
The fate of the Affordable Care Act is currently in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. Last month, Justices of the Court heard arguments from the 26 opposing states and representatives of the federal government who stood in support of the health care law. Though some Justices took issue with the concept of mandatory health insurance coverage, no clear inclination was given as to the potential fate of the law. Some states, including Arizona, have begun investigating ways that the law can be implemented on a more local level in case the health care law was to fail.
Arizona regulators seeking changes to rate review process
The state’s Department of Insurance has highlighted Arizona’s rate review process as needing additional attention. The state currently reviews rate increase proposals from health insurance companies based upon its own criteria. At times, this criterion has been subjected to criticism because it is not as strict as those found in other states. Arizona officials have recently begun petitioning the federal government for authorization to use federal rate review criteria that is based upon the Affordable Care Act. Regulators believe that these criteria would lead to benefits for consumers.
Improvements to the rate review process could bring benefits to consumers
Arizona has already utilized a $1 million grant from the federal government that went toward making the rate review process more effective. Regulators claim that more work is needed to ensure that health insurance companies do not take advantage of a fragile situation if the Affordable Care act is dismantled by the Supreme Court. The Department of Insurance has yet to receive authorization from the federal government to use the criteria.