Obama Administration Offers Guidance on State Health Reform Alternatives

Federal officials released new guidance Thursday on how states can apply for waivers to key provisions of the healthcare reform law, the latest attempt by Democrats to show they’re being responsive to states’ demands for more flexibility. The law allows states to opt out of key provisions of the law – including the individual mandate – starting in 2017, and last month President Obama endorsed bipartisan Senate legislation to move up the provision to 2014. Critics however say the opt-out provision requires states to cover as many people as thoroughly and as cheaply as would be covered without the waivers, which means conservative states that want to pare down the law’s mandates would be hamstrung.

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