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US extends key deadline of Obama healthcare reform law

Published on Nov 16, 2012 10:46 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US states will be given additional time to decide whether to put in place a key aspect of President Barack Obama's health care reform programme, the administration's top health policy official said Thursday.

In a letter to governors of Louisiana and Virginia, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said that states now will be given until Dec 14 to decide whether to put in place their own "state-based exchange" - or online marketplaces - aimed at helping consumers and small businesses shop for healthcare coverage.

She made her announcement one day before the original November 16 deadline.

"While receiving a letter of intent now will help us assist states in finalizing their application, a state may submit both a letter of intent and an application to operate its own exchange by December 14," Ms Sebelius wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by AFP.

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