Today, President Obama endorsed bipartisan legislation that would empower states to seek innovation waivers from the Affordable Care Act beginning in 2014 rather than in 2017, as specified in the original law. Following the President’s announcement, DNC Chairman Tim Kaine issued the following statement:
For decades, American families, businesses, and government leaders grappled with the challenges of rising health care costs. When President Obama took office, he pledged to tackle those challenges to bring costs under control, expand coverage and make health care more affordable so that companies can compete effectively. With the Affordable Care Act – which expands access to quality health care, cut costs for families and businesses, and reduces the federal deficit – the President fulfilled his pledge. Now, he is committed to seeing that law successfully implemented – and the ‘Empowering States to Innovate Act’ will support that goal.
As a former governor, I know that flexibility and rewarding states for effective innovation in meeting federally-established goals can accelerate and enhance the successful implementation of important laws. Leaders all across the country are trying to answer the same question: how can I guarantee that the people I represent have access to the best future – including the best health care – that America has to offer? But the answer to that question can vary from state to state. With his support of the ‘Empowering States to Innovate’ legislation, the President is providing state leaders with flexibility they can use to deliver the best health care system for their states while also living up to the standards set by the Affordable Care Act.
As the President said in his State of the Union address, he is willing to work with leaders of both parties to improve the Affordable Care Act in ways that advance the central goals of the law: increasing health care access and reducing health care costs. The ‘Empowering States to Innovate’ bill does just that and for that reason, President Obama’s support is an important step forward for this critical legislation.