A centerpiece of Republican health care proposals is to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines. The president’s claim at today’s health care “summit” that he supports the idea simply highlights the fact that he doesn’t. (I’ll retract this if he adds a real 50-state market to his bill, but I don’t expect to have to.)
The White House came out against it last November (back when they didn’t think they needed any GOP support):
RHETORIC: The House Republican health care “plan” lets families and businesses buy health insurance across state lines.
REALITY: Unlike the House Leadership bill, the Republicans’ bill takes us backwards rather than forwards.
Their argument, as far as I understand it, is that a national market would give states with fewer regulations an advantage, which would lead other states to loosen regulation, which would be bad.
But even if we accept that argument (regulation good, freedom bad), the president’s proposal would comprehensively regulate health care nationwide. Surely then there could be no problem with a national insurance market. But it’s still not in the president’s proposal.
Why on earth not? The White House has figured out at the eleventh hour that it would look good if they pretended to try to be bipartisan, and it would seem as though incorporating the Republicans’ main idea would be a good way to do it. What do the Democrats have against interstate insurance purchases? I assume it’s a cynical political calculation, but I can’t imagine what it might be.