Barrasso, Graham Introduce Legislation Allowing States to "Opt-Out' of Obamacare

Press Release

By:  Lindsey Graham John Barrasso
Date: Feb. 1, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) today introduced S.244, The State Health Care Choice Act, to repeal and replace Obamacare by allowing states to "Opt-Out' of its major provisions. Under the legislation, states could choose to "Opt-Out' of:

Individual mandate -- the requirement to buy government-approved health insurance coupled with a financial penalty for not doing so.

Employer mandate -- the requirement for businesses to provide government-approved health insurance coupled with financial penalties for not doing so.

Medicaid mandate -- the forced expansion of state Medicaid programs.

Benefit mandates -- defines what qualifies as a health plan as well as new federal requirements for regulating health insurance.

"As a doctor in Wyoming, I witnessed regularly how Washington simply didn't understand the needs of the people of our state," said Barrasso. "After Obamacare, Washington is more out of touch than ever. Instead of requiring states to follow Obamacare's one-size-fits-all health care policy, our bill lets states decide what works best for them. We will fight to repeal the President's bad health spending law and provide states with flexibility, freedom and choice."

"Our legislation opens up a third front in the fight against Obama health care," said Graham, noting the other "fronts' include legal challenges moving through the courts and the House-passed repeal. "Our bill takes the fight out of Washington and puts it back in the states. I would hope every Senator, regardless of party, would give the people of their home state a chance to be heard. I'm confident that if given the chance, a large number of states would opt-out of the provisions regarding the individual mandate, employer mandate, and expansion of Medicaid. As more states opt-out, it will have the effect of repealing and replacing Obamacare."

"Medicaid expansion under Obama health care will be devastating to many states, including South Carolina," continued Graham. "We are already facing a severe budget shortfall this year. The future expansion of Medicaid -- which adds an additional one billion dollars of state matching funding requirements and will result in nearly 30 percent of South Carolinians being eligible for Medicaid -- only adds to our budget problems. This combination of Medicaid expansion and increased state funding makes it virtually impossible for South Carolina to pull out of her economic woes."

The Senators noted the Obama Administration has already issued 733 waivers to businesses allowing them to continue offering insurance to their employees and questioned why states should not have the same ability to obtain relief.