March 1st, 2011 – This week, President Barrack Obama spoke to the National Governor’s Association and told them he is supporting new legislation that would allow states to opt-out of health care reform as soon as 2014.
By doing so, states could bypass the unpopular “individual mandate” that would require all Americans to have health insurance or face financial penalties.
State run health care systems would still have to provide coverage that is as comprehensive and affordable as those mandated by the federal law. State plans could not increase the federal deficit and states would have to prove that the same number of residents would be covered as under the federal law.
Because of this requirement, both liberal and conservative think tanks see this as a way to open the door to single payer healthcare, at the state level.
According to Michael Cannon of the conservative Cato Institute, “The only way that states could cover as many people as ObamaCare does is by using ObamaCare’s tactic of forcing people to buy exorbitantly costly health insurance. And if they’re not going to use an individual mandate, the only remaining option is a single-payer health care system.”
Jamie Court, president of the liberal-leaning Consumer Watchdog group, agreed that the idea would essentially put single-payer back on the table. “Obama is giving those of us who favor a public insurance option to the private insurance market an opportunity to move our states forward.”