Monday, February 28, 2011

Obama finds the ACA is a political positive for the Democrats.

Steve Benen has two interesting and fun posts up about the Affordable Care Act. First, he praised Mitt Romney for his work on health care policy as governor of Massachusetts. It's quite clear that Obama's health care plan was based largely on the system that Mitt Romney had previously installed in Massachusetts. Since Mitt is going to be running for President in the Republican Primaries, Obama's praise will create any number of right-wing attack ads against Romney.

The second post is also about Obama's efforts to implement the Affordable Care Act. Obama has announced that he is open to state-level changes in health care policy. The announcement says:
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.
Steve Benen points out what this means: If the Governors can come up with an alternate system that provides health care to as many people as the ACA does without adding to the deficit and in such a way that costs are controlled as well as the federal ACA does, great! Obama will support them.

Interestingly, the only states that might develop an effective alternate that meets the requirements are Vermont and Oregon, two Democratic states, who might try to implement a single payer system.

Both of these White House initiatives put the Republicans into the position where they have to explain the value of the ACA or offer an alternative to it that is somehow better.

No comments: