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Democratic Senator Wants His State to Opt Out of Obamacare!


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Dec 20, 2009
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it Begins

One of the most innovative voices in the health care debate, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), is accelerating the process of exempting his state from some of the national reforms passed under President Barack Obama.

The Oregon Democrat is seeking to take advantage of a provision he helped write into the legislation that allows states to set up their own health care systems as long as they meet minimal requirements established by the Department of Health and Human Services. In a letter to the state's Health Authority office, Wyden announced that he will introduce legislation to accelerate the start date for state waivers from 2017 to 2014, if not earlier for Oregon specifically.

In addition, he strongly suggested that the state should use the provision to exempt Oregon from the individual mandate, which would penalize those individuals who refuse to purchase insurance coverage. The mandate was a feature of Wyden's own health care bill but has proved to be remarkably unpopular among voters.

cmon people; had this guy actually voted the way he's trying to run now, Obamacare would never have existed in the first place.

cmon people; had this guy actually voted the way he's trying to run now, Obamacare would never have existed in the first place.

And one can but hope his opponent, at the next election, will repeatedly point out this simple fact to the electorate.
wait - you didn't realize what the mandate would mean? gosh.... maybe you should have friggin read the bill.
wait - you didn't realize what the mandate would mean? gosh.... maybe you should have friggin read the bill.

1-very few of them read what they voted for
2-democrat playbook right now is to distancer themselves from Obama, hang responsibility for Obamacare on the president, and tell how they are going to 'fix' it.

Its pure politics right now.

States that try to opt out are going to lose in the courts and even if they refuse benefits their citizens will still end up paying the taxes for others. And dont think the government will spend LESS because several states arent enrolled or utilizing the resources. To say nothing of the lawsuits by democrats when states do try to opt out.

Its an all or nothing thing folks...and right now, we are all in.
I'm not exactly sure what Sen. Wyden is trying to accomplish here.

For starters, the waiver under section 1332 would only apply to standardization reforms as they apply to health insurance plans that are certified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as viable plans within a state-sponsored health insurance exchange. (See Parts 1 & 2 of subtitle D and section 1402 to subject law)

Secondly, although the states would receive financial assistance from the federal government in the form of grants to start their own state-sponsored HIEs (not to mention several other aspects of implementing health care reforms), the law clearly states that the states should become self-sufficient in financing and managing their HIEs by 2015. (See section 1311(4)(B) under subject law). Moreover, the high-risk pools that most states should have established by now (with federal financial aid) is a quasi-test platform for the state-sponsored HIEs. Most states should be able to identify most of the pit-falls in their HIEs long before the law goes into full effect by 2014.

Third, the only benefit the State of Oregan has to starting their HIE sooner would be as their Health Authority, Bruce Goldberg, has stated:

...with (state-sponsored) insurance exchanges as the centerpiece of national health reform, I believe it would be most beneficial to the nation and Federal agencies for a state of the size and demographics of Oregon to go early with an exchange. This would allow us to test a variety of the systems and policies that will be necessary for national success and for other states to learn from.

So, other than the latter, I really don't understand where the State of Oregan benefits here except that they'd be the first to "shake out the new system".

Now, I agree with most people that the health care reform law (H.R. 3590) doesn't adequately tackle cost containment, but then again how can it? I mean, how can the federal government "mandate" the premiums private insurance providers charge their customers in the various markets? Answer: It can't! That's the primary issue this article from the New York Book Review addresses. But even the author agrees that what was passed, though not perfect, is a decent start. The sad part is most people continue to look at the cost figures over the first 10 years that the legislation is to be implemented and don't try to see how things can and will change beyond that point. But for what it's worth, I think the nation is on the right path where health care reforms are concerned. The article is correct, however, that until the People and our elected officials get serious about bringing down costs and stop treating the health care industry as a...well, and industry...and start seeing basic health care as a right, the cost containment measures will never be implemented and all attempts to reduces cost will be made from the perifery of the overall system (i.e., insurance, treatments, surgery, pharmasauticals, tests, mechinary and equipment, etc.).
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I'm not exactly sure what Sen. Wyden is trying to accomplish here.
The same as every other loony lefty: Pass rules for *other* people to live by, while exempting your own particular interests.
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