Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hutchison Amendment (#3608) on State Opt-Out

Senator Hutchison has offered an amendment (#3608) to allow states to opt out of provisions of the legislation.
  • The amendment permits states to opt out of provisions of the health law, “including, but not limited to, provisions and amendments relating to the individual mandate, the employer mandate, taxes on prescription drugs, taxes on medical devices, taxes on high value health plans, Medicare cuts, and the unfunded expansion of Medicaid.”
Arguments in Favor
  • The health care law allows states to opt-out of offering insurance plans that cover abortion in their Exchanges (even though these states would see their taxpayer dollars funding plans in other states that cover abortion).  If states are able to opt-out of including plans covering abortion in their Exchanges, why shouldn’t they be able to opt-out of ALL the bill’s mandates, taxes, Medicare cuts, and unfunded mandates?
  • According to the American Legislative Exchange Council, at least 38 states have filed or indicated an intent to file “model legislation that would ensure a patient’s right to pay directly for medical care and prohibit an individual from being penalized for not purchasing health insurance.”  Legislatures in Virginia and Idaho have already enacted such legislation.
  • The unfunded mandates in the bill would require states to increase their Medicaid spending by tens of billions of dollars – forcing states to raise taxes or siphon funding away from other priorities such as education.
  • A one-pager on how the health care law is bad for states is available here.