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Obama whacks Romney on health care -- again

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro and Athena Jones
Hillary Clinton used to get this kind of treatment from the opposing party, circa 2007.

President Obama this morning took another swipe at presumed 2012 candidate Mitt Romney for his health-care plan today at the president's speech before a bipartisan group of governors at the White House.

"I know that many of you have asked for flexibility of your states under this law," Obama said. "In fact, I agree with Mitt Romney, who recently said he's proud of what he accomplished on health care in Massachusetts and said he supports giving states the power to determine their own health care solutions. He's right. Alabama's not gonna have exactly the same needs as Massachusetts or California or North  Dakota. We believe in that flexibility, so right now under the law -- under the Affordable Care Act --  Massachusetts and Utah already operate exchanges of their own that are very different -- operate them in their own way, and we made sure that the law allowed that."


Then the president touted his plan to move up the date that states can request waivers from 2017 to 2014.

"The same applies for other requests like choosing benefit rules that meet the needs of your citizens, or allowing for consumer-driven plans and health savings accounts," Obama said. "And this recognition that states need flexibility tailor their approach to their unique needs is why part of the law says that beginning in 2017, if you can come up with a better system for your state to provide coverage of the same quality and affordability as the Affordable Care Act, you can take that route instead.

"Now some folks have said well that's not soon enough, so a few weeks ago Oregon Sen Ron Wyden, a Democrat, and Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, a Republican, and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu, they proposed legislation that would acclerate that provision, so it would allow states to apply for such a waiver by 2014 instead of 2017. I think that's a reasonable proposal. I support it. It will give you flexibility more quickly while still guaranteeing the American people reform. If your state can create a plan that covers as many people as affordably and comprehensively as the Affordable Care Act does, without increasing the deficit, you can implement that plan and we'll work with you to do it."