Bipartisan bill would allow states to opt-out of Obamacare early

wrahn Contributor
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Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) and Republican Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) may have found a way to take the partisan venom out of the healthcare reform debate, according to some state officials and policy experts.

The senators introduced legislation on Thursday that would accelerate, by three years, a little-known provision that Wyden included in the Democrats’ healthcare law. The change advocated by Wyden and Brown would allow states to seek waivers from some of the healthcare law’s requirements — including federal regulations that Republicans have decried as an intrusion on the states — beginning in 2014, when most of the law’s major provisions are scheduled to take effect.

The waiver would allow states to opt out of central parts of the healthcare law, including the individual mandate to buy health insurance and the employer mandate to provide it or pay a fine.

But there’s a catch: In order to receive a waiver from the regulations, states would have to meet the healthcare targets that the federal law requires. States would need to set up a health insurance system that covers at least as many people as prescribed under the federal law, and the plans would have to meet requirements for affordability and comprehensiveness.

Full story: Bipartisan bill would accelerate state opt-out provision in health law – The Hill’s Healthwatch