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States may soon have the power to implement their own versions of the federal Affordable Care Act under a policy proposed by the Departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury.

Under the Affordable Care Act, state governments may apply for Innovation Waivers to to pursue their own strategy for giving their constituents access to high quality, affordable health care.

“Innovation Waivers empower States to take the lead on implementing the Affordable Care Act,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  “Today’s announcement demonstrates the flexibility available to States as they continue to move forward on fixing our broken health insurance marketplace."

The waivers are designed to allow states to implement policies differing from the Affordable Care Act so long as they:

  • Provide coverage that is at least as comprehensive as the coverage offered through Health Insurance Exchanges – new competitive, private health insurance marketplaces
  • Make coverage at least as affordable as it would have been through the Exchanges
  • Provide coverage to at least a comparable number of residents as otherwise would have been covered under the Affordable Care Act
  • Do not increase the Federal deficit

For more information on the regulations announced earlier this month, visit www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/stateinnovation03102011a.html.  To read the new regulations, visit www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.

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