A little-known part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that goes into effect in 2017 could eventually change how the law works in many states.

Beginning in 2017, Section 1332 will allow the federal government to grant waivers to states allowing them to revise key parts of the law. For example, states could potentially be given the right to get rid of their insurance exchanges or eliminate the individual or employer insurance mandate. Or, states could be authorized to create a single-payer health system, as Vermont tried unsuccessfully to do.

The provision suggests that, despite the common GOP criticism that PPACA is a "federal takeover," the landmark health law could evolve into a model that resembles what many conservatives have long proposed for other federal programs, such as Medicaid. Many conservatives have long advocated for such programs to be funded via federal block grants that allow states to spend as they see fit.

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