House Republicans took their symbolic stand repealing the health care overhaul law. But it's the next step Americans ought to examine closely: their centerpiece solution.
The current battle in the House boils down to this: How to provide affordable, quality insurance for the 50 million uninsured – and the millions who don't get insurance from their employer and currently have to buy insurance on their own in the individual market?
The law signed by President Barack Obama provides one solution: Beginning in January 2014, these folks will be able to buy coverage through a state exchange, where individuals can comparison shop in one place for a health plan – thus taking advantage of having a large pool and ensuring that insurance companies offer coverage with minimal coverage and cost standards.
House Republicans provide a very different solution: Allow health insurance companies to sell policies across state lines. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., well-known for doing the bidding of the insurance industry, has introduced a bill to that effect.
The concept sounds appealing – why not promote competition across state lines? But the actual proposal takes states out of the picture and puts the insurance companies in charge.
Under her bill, insurance companies get to designate which state "shall govern the health insurance issuer" in the sale of coverage. Translation: The insurer has to follow only the laws and regulations of that one state and is exempt from laws in other states.
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