Monday, October 20, 2008

States as dumping grounds

Judging from John McCain's website, he's decided to make health insurance one of his battleground issues this week. This doesn't seem like a good idea. Here he is explaining that his individual (as opposed to group) based plan will allow shopping for health insurance in any state --

the [tax] credit goes to the insurance company that the American family chooses to get coverage from, anywhere in the nation. The power of choice lies with the family – not government bureaucrats or insurance companies.

Here he is a few paragraphs later explaining how he would deal with the scandal of American health insurance -- the de facto bar on coverage for people with pre-existing conditions (an issue for which McCain has never had a good explanation):

John McCain believes that no American should be denied access to quality and affordable coverage simply because of a pre-existing condition. As President, John McCain will work with governors to develop a best practice model that states can follow – a Guaranteed Access Plan or GAP – that would reflect the best experience of the states to ensure these patients have access to health coverage.

Notice the switch. One minute anyone can shop for health insurance anywhere in the country. The next minute, people who have had a serious illess already have to stick to "GAP" plans developed in their own state -- assuming that states can come up with a definition of who is a resident. So for the bad risks, it's a state level solution. The healthy people can buy wherever they want.

Why would any state that wasn't planning to host companies which cherry-pick the best risks think this was a good idea?

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