Obama: States Can Opt Out of Health-Care Early

In a meeting with the National Governors Association, President Obama offered an olive branch to governors unhappy with health care reform, while needling them for criticizing the stimulus and going after unions. For the first time, Obama came out in favor of changing a central part of the health care law: allowing states to withdraw from the federal mandate in 2014 provided they cover as many people as the original law with the same cost. But he also criticized his opposition, pointing out that the stimulus helped every state represented in the room with their budgets, “whether you admit it or not,” and singling out the absent Gov. Scott Walker for his union bill: “I don’t think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon,” Obama said. “We need to attract the best and brightest to public service.”