Monday, February 28, 2011

Hmmm: Obama Suddenly Willing to Give States 'Flexibility' to Opt Out of Individual Mandate

Never mind the fact that Obamacare's individual mandate was ruled unconstitutional several weeks ago by not one but two federal district court judges. That hasn't stopped the administration from proceeding apace with implementing the law, in clear contempt of court. Appeals are for suckers, anyway. Why bother, right?

But wait! King Obama is now generously considering allowing states to have the 'flexibility' to opt out of Obamacare's bipartisanly loathed individual mandate. The only catch: They must hop on the fast track to single-payer, the Socialist Holy Grail that Obama wanted all along but never had the votes in Congress to pass, despite huge Democrat supermajorities in both Houses.

Oh, goodie.
Seeking to appease disgruntled governors, President Obama announced Monday that he supported amending the 2010 health care law to allow states to opt out of its most burdensome requirements three years earlier than currently permitted.

In remarks to the National Governors Association, Mr. Obama said he backed legislation that would enable states to request federal permission to withdraw from the law’s mandates in 2014 rather than in 2017 as long as they could prove that they could find other ways to cover as many people as the original law would and at the same cost. The earlier date is when many of the act’s central provisions take effect, including requirements that most individuals obtain health insurance and that employers of a certain size offer coverage to workers or pay a penalty.

“I think that’s a reasonable proposal; I support it,” Mr. Obama told the governors, who were gathered in the State Dining Room of the White House.

“It will give you flexibility more quickly while still guaranteeing the American people reform.”

The announcement is the first time Mr. Obama has called for changing a central component of his signature health care law, although he has backed removing a specific tax provision that both parties regard as onerous on business. The shift comes as the law is under fierce attack in the courts and from Republicans on Capitol Hill and in statehouses around the country.

The bipartisan amendment that Mr. Obama is now embracing was first proposed in November, eight months after enactment of the Affordable Care Act, by Senators Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, and Scott Brown, Republican of Massachusetts. Senator Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, a Democrat, is now a co-sponsor.
Quick side note to Scott Brown: I'd like my stinkin' twenty bucks back now, Senator. With interest.

The legislation would allow states to opt out earlier from various requirements if they could demonstrate that other methods would allow them to cover as many people, with insurance that is as comprehensive and affordable, as provided by the new law. The changes also must not increase the federal deficit.
Well, of course - Obama is a real stickler when it comes to the deficit.

h/t: Weasel Zippers. Cross-posted.

UPDATE: Ack, the dreaded inadvertent double-post. Oh, well. Does JAG's post feature a well-placed Snobby Obama photo?

Didn't think so.

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