The Baltimore Sun, March 1, 2011
President Obama endorsed a significant change to his health reform law Monday, signing on to bipartisan legislation that would allow states to opt out of federal requirements -- including the individual mandate -- three years earlier than scheduled. The announcement came during a meeting with the nation's governors at the White House, in which Obama said he was responding to state leaders' requests for greater flexibility in meeting the requirements of the landmark 2010 legislation. Under the original health reform law, states would be allowed to opt out of the requirements of the federal proposal in 2017 if they implemented their own health reforms. To obtain a waiver, states need to demonstrate that their own reforms meet the goals of the federal law, including extending coverage to as many citizens as would be available through the exchanges in the federal law, lowering overall costs and not adding to the federal deficits.