Hot Air Blog Archive Oh, by the way, O-Care lets states opt out of the individual mandate
From HotAir:It’s called the “Empowering States to be Innovative” amendment. And it would, quite literally, give states the right to set up their own health care system — with or without an individual mandate or, for that matter, with or without a public option — provided that, as Wyden puts it, “they can meet the coverage requirements of the bill.”
From the bill:I went looking on Google to find out how Ed and I could have missed this, and it turns out we didn’t. Everyone missed it. There were precisely two pages of results for “Empowering States to be Innovative” when I searched earlier this afternoon; one of the most comprehensive treatments of the subject, posted six months ago, was this piece, which devoted a paragraph to it. Good work, media. So which “coverage requirements” would a state have to meet to qualify for an O-Care waiver? Here’s the relevant section from the Senate bill; skip ahead to page 212.
(A) will provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage defined in section 1302(b) and offered through Exchanges established under this title as certified by Office of the Actuary of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services based on sufficient data from the State and from comparable States about their experience with programs created by this Act and the provisions of this Act that would be waived;
(B) will provide coverage and cost sharing protections against excessive out-of-pocket spending that are at least as affordable as the provisions of this title would provide;
(C) will provide coverage to at least a comparable number of its residents as the provisions of this title would provide; and
(D) will not increase the Federal deficit.
It's unlikely that states will actually be deemed to have met the requirements and get to opt out, but the fact that this wasn't played up for political points one bit, when so much attention was given to the idea of being able to opt out, is a pretty hilarious piece of evidence that nobody - in Congress or otherwise - actually read through the bill, which is longer than the last two Harry Potter books combined.