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Obama Asks Baucus, Kennedy for Health Waivers

President Barack Obama on Wednesday sent a letter to Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) asking them to agree to waivers in certain cases for those least able to afford mandated health coverage.

“I understand the Committees are moving towards a principle of shared responsibility — making every American responsible for having health insurance coverage, and asking that employers share in the cost,— Obama wrote. “If we do end up with a system where people are responsible for their own insurance, we need to provide a hardship waiver to exempt Americans who cannot afford it,— he continued. “In addition, while I believe that employers have a responsibility to support health insurance for their employees, small businesses face a number of special challenges in affording health benefits and should be exempted.—

Obama’s letter was otherwise generally supportive of the committees’ efforts and stated that he continues to hope for a bipartisan bill.

“I remain hopeful that many Republicans will join us in enacting this historic legislation that will lower health care costs for families, businesses, and governments, and improve the lives of millions of Americans,— he wrote.

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