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GOP officials: Delay health care law as cost-saver

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West Virginia’s state attorney general Tuesday called on President Obama to delay the implementation of his signature health care law, the latest in a chorus of Republicans arguing that slowing down the new law is a way to ease the looming crisis over sequester spending cuts.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey said the Obama administration is far behind on its rule-making to implement key provisions of the Affordable Care Act by 2014, so pushing back the law’s deadlines would not be disruptive.

“The White House knows that this is a law that, at a minimum, needs to be delayed,” Mr. Morrissey told The Washington Times on Tuesday. “And if the White House and Congress were to choose to delay Obamacare, we could save tens of billions of dollars, and that could be a way to address some of the sequester issues that are currently pending.”

Mr. Obama is unlikely to throw his first-term achievement on the negotiating table to avoid the across-the board cuts set to take effect on Friday.

But that has not stopped high-profile GOP politicians like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham from calling on the president to hold off on the expansion of Medicaid enrollment and the establishment of state-based markets, or “exchanges,” designed to help the uninsured find health insurance coverage.

“Just delay the Medicare expansions, delay the health care exchanges so they can work with states on waivers, on flexibility,” Mr. Jindal said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “You could save tens of billions of dollars there by — and you’re not even cutting a program that’s started yet. Just delay it for a few years.”

Mr. Obama’s law is poised to suffer at least a glancing blow from the sequester. Discretionary spending cuts at the Department of Health and Human Services are set to shave off funding for the grants that help states set up their health exchanges under the law.

The Prevention and Public Health Fund — a state-by-state fund set up by the health care law to fight diseases and illness — would also be subject to the sequester.

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