AHIP Asks; Baucus Delivers

For a very long time the health insurance industry has been working hard to avoid state benefit mandates. Insurance companies hate that states make them cover conditions that actual Americans suffer from. Paying for medicine treatment when someone gets sicks does terrible things to their insurance profits margins.

When health care reform efforts got started AHIP put out the plan they wanted to see. A big part of that was “essential benefits packages.” They would be:
available in all states that provides coverage for prevention and wellness as well as acute and chronic care. To maintain affordability, the essential benefits plan should not be subject to varying and conflicting state benefit mandates.
Well AHIP asked and Baucus delivered. According to his bill he would create “national plans.”
These national plans must be licensed in every state that they choose to operate and would be regulated by the states in terms of solvency and other key consumer protections and would offer coverage through the state exchanges. Such national plans must be compliant with the benefit levels and categories detailed in the Mark, but would preempt state benefit mandates.
The for profit health insurance industry must be so happy. They can finally sell health insurance in any state, while avoiding covering health conditions the voters of those states decided should be covered. In states with good strong minimum benefits rules, health insurance companies will just choose to only offer “national plans” avoiding state law. In affect Baucus would completely strip the states of their power to decide what minimum benefits health insurance plans must cover.

More costumers, less regulations, less local oversight, few options to Americans to address lack coverage problems. It sounds like an all around big winner for the for profit health insurance companies.

(emphasis mine)

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