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AUSTIN - Statement by TexPIRG Field Associate Emily Slatter on the Empowering States to Innovate Act (S. 248), which was endorsed today by President Obama in his remarks to the National Governors Association.
"The bipartisan Empowering States to Innovate Act (S. 248), which enables states to develop inventive policy solutions to the rising costs and dysfunctional insurance markets that plague our health care system, is a win-win for consumers and small businesses in states across the country.
"While last year's Affordable Care Act gave states the ability to obtain a waiver for such reforms, the ACA makes the waivers available in 2017 – this legislation would move that up by three years, to 2014.
"With this new flexibility, states with innovative policy ideas like Oregon or Massachusetts could continue to press the envelope of what's possible. Other states would be free to develop other approaches, provided they matched or bettered the ACA's policy solutions.
"The Empowering States to Innovate Act would also set high standards to ensure that states improve on the current federal law, not gut it. To be eligible for the waivers, the states’ reform plans cannot add to the federal deficit and must match or exceed the coverage and affordability achievements in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Vital consumer protections, like the ban on rescissions and coverage until age 26, would remain in effect.
"The legislation, which is sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Scott Brown (R-MA), and Mary Landrieu (D-LA), won a critical endorsement today from President Obama in his address today to the National Governors Association.
"Congress should move quickly on this bipartisan legislation and send it to the President’s desk for his signature."
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