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GOP health bill: Insurers can ignore ‘all of the consumer protection laws’ and ‘restrictions on rate changes.’

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"GOP health bill: Insurers can ignore ‘all of the consumer protection laws’ and ‘restrictions on rate changes.’"

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The new GOP health care plan expands “coverage” and “choice” by permitting health insurers to sell policies across state lines. Under the Republican proposal, the insurer can choose a ‘primary state’ “whose covered laws shall govern the health insurance issuer” and can change states “upon renewal of the policy.” Page 129 requires a “health insurance issuer” to “provide the following notice” informing consumers in so-called ‘secondary states’ that the policy is “not subject to all of the consumer protection laws or restrictions on rate changes of the state.” Here is the notice, as it is described in the legislation:

page130

The GOP is conceding the progressive argument. Specifically, it is admitting that insurance companies would have little incentive to continue doing business under certain state rules which “require that companies issue coverage to all new customers and not set higher rates for people who are already sick.” Instead, companies could chose a state with scarce regulations and sell policies that don’t provide mental health parity, cancer screenings, or abide by regulations that limit the rates that can be charged to higher-cost consumers. This way, plans can attract the healthiest applicants and detract the sick.

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