Is Dan Pfeiffer Ashamed Of Nationwide Plans? Because He Should Be

Dan Pfeiffer wisely went after Charles Krauthammer's terrible column in which he makes the absurd claim that the pillars of health care reform should be taxing benefits, tort reform, and selling insurance across state lines. (Really Krauthammer? universal coverage, community ratings, ending rescission, banning pre-existing condition exclusion, rewarding quality over quantity, etc... did not make the cut, but taxing benefits did?)

The problem is that Pfeiffer did not attack Krauthammer for being an idiot with bad ideas. He did not point out that Krauthammer is advocating for a health care “reform” that would most likely make it impossible for him to find private individual health insurance if he lost his current employer coverage. Instead, Pfeiffer went after Krauthammer by pointing out that all his ideas were already in the bill, and in the process, he indirectly endorsed his foolishness.

What is truly scary is that Dan Pfeiffer claims the Senate bill would allow for the sale of insurance across state lines by saying:
Section 1333 of the Senate bill allows for interstate health care choice compacts. Coupled with insurance market reforms to ensure individuals are not discriminated against, this policy will expand health care choices to millions of Americans.

While I think interstate health care choice compacts are bad idea, they are not a huge concern to me. If a state wants to de facto eliminate its right to set minimum benefit packages by passing a law entering into a state compact with a state with lower standards, at least the state actively chose to do that by passing a law.

The real concern with section 1333 is that it also includes the terrible "nationwide plans" provision wanted by AHIP. If a state does not actively opt-out of this program, insurance companies would get to start selling insurance plans in the state which do not need to follow state law. This provision in effect guts all state regulations about coverage, and the worst part is that it would require states to actively pass a law to prevent this from happening.

If states don't pass a new law soon, their current laws about health insurance will be shredded by the Senate bill. States with strong insurance laws but that happen to currently have Republicans governors (Vermont, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, etc...) could easily see their insurance regulations eliminated if the Republican governors refuse to sign a law opting out of the “nationwide plans.”

I don't know why Pfeiffer did not mention nationwide plans in his article. It goes way farther in terms of allowing the sale of insurance across state lines than the interstate health care choice compacts provision. Pfeiffer must either be unaware of them, or the White House is actively trying not to draw attention to this radical provision. Either way, it sends a cold chill up my spine.

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