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Senators Introduce Bill to Allow States Flexibility in Heathcare Reform Law

Posted on 19 Nov 2010

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Two U.S. senators, Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Scott Brown (R-MA), have introduced a bill that would allow states to opt out of portions of the federal government's new healthcare reform law. The federal overhaul will become effective in 2014.

Under the senators' proposal, states would have the flexibility to offer alternatives to certain parts of the government's healthcare law such as the mandate that everyone purchase health insurance.

The measure also moves up the date when states can apply for waivers from the federal law.

"States shouldn't be forced by the federal government to adopt a one-size-fits all healthcare plan. Each state's health care needs are different,'' Brown, who opposed the federal overhaul, said in a statement.

"Our bill provides flexibility and allows states like Massachusetts to opt out of portions of the healthcare law,'' said Brown, whose home state of Massachusetts has its own comprehensive healthcare plan.

Wyden was a supporter of the federal healthcare overhaul and authored the provision in the current bill that lets states seek waivers beginning in 2017.

But he said states like Massachusetts and his home state of Oregon, which also has its own alternative healthcare programs, might have to abandon at least temporarily their state-based initiatives if they have to implement the federal law before getting waivers.

"Bumping up the start date means that states can focus on ways to make the new health law work at its best from day one,'' Wyden said in a statement.