Thursday, March 24, 2011

Leading OBAMACARE Backer Considering Waiver for NYC...

Rep. Anthony Weiner said Wednesday he was looking into how a health
law waiver might work for New York City.

Weiner, who is likely to run for mayor of New York, said that because
of the city's special health care infrastructure, his office was
looking into alternatives that might make more sense. Weiner is one of
the health care law's biggest supporters; during the debate leading up
to reform, he was one of the last holdouts in Congress for the public

"The president said, 'If you have better ideas that can accomplish the
same thing, go for it,'" said Weiner. "I'm in the process now of
trying to see if we can take [President Barack Obama] up on it in the
city of New York, … and I'm taking a look at all of the money we spend
in Medicaid and Medicare and maybe New York City can come up with a
better plan."

New York is one of two states that pass on Medicaid expenses to cities
and localities, so "the city winds up having an enormous Medicaid
expense," Weiner said.

The congressman was trying to debunk Republican "myths" about the
health care law during a speech at the Center for American Progress.
He used the waivers as way to describe how flexible the law actually
is and how "this notion that the government is shoving the bill down
people's throats" is not true.

"The administration needs to make this argument more forcefully," he
said. "A lot of people who got waivers were … people who are our

The New York Democrat said that he does not have the power to get the
city to apply for a waiver but that he is "personally looking at
whether he can make the numbers work."

"We in New York already have hospitals, we already employ doctors and
we employ nurses. We have a lot of uninsured people. … [Setting up]
the exchanges is the one piece of the puzzle that would be difficult
for us to do," he said. "I'm just looking internally to whether the
city can save money and have more control over its own destiny.

Weiner is slated to hold at least five events on the anniversary of
the Affordable Care Act and has been one of the most outspoken
Democratic supporters of the law.