President Bill Clinton made a surprise admission during an appearance on Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor Tuesday night: he agrees with the Republican proposal of establishing a national health insurance marketplace and allowing companies to sell policies across state lines:
CLINTON: You know let your insurance company compete across state lines.
O’REILLY: That’s right.
CLINTON: In other words, create a national market for insurance…That’s one place where I agree with the Republicans.
O’REILLY: Yes I think you are going to have to defect here, Mr. Clinton. That’s what I’m hearing here.
CLINTON: No, no.
The Affordable Care Act includes provisions that allow insurers to sell policies within the confines of state compacts, so long as the companies follow the consumer protection standards designed and agreed to by the states. The Republicans are advocating something entirely different. Under their proposal, insurers would be able to circumvent consumer protections in certain states by selling bare-bone policies to the healthiest beneficiaries from states with the fewest regulations. Companies would have little incentive to do business in states that currently require coverage for cancer screenings, mammogram services, or other benefits and and will instead sell empty plans across the country to the most profitable applicants.
These beneficiaries will see short term savings, and as long as they don’t become sick, they will be paying less than if they had a more comprehensive policy. But once they do fall ill, these policies won’t offer coverage for the treatments they need and they will either go bankrupt trying to pay for their medical bills out-of-pocket or spend substantially more on comprehensive coverage. Sicker Americans will also see a cost increase, as healthier enrollees leave the risk pool to buy insurance from an unregulated insurer from out of state.