GOP Health Plan Would Allow For ‘Sweatshop Insurance’

Under the Republican health care alternative filed in the House, young and healthy individuals can purchase policies from insurers that don’t abide by local benefit or rate standards. The Republican bill allows the health insurer to choose a “primary state” “whose covered laws shall govern the health insurance issuer” and sell policies to people in other states without adhering “to all of the consumer protection laws or restrictions on rate changes of the state.”

Over at MYDD, Bruce Webb calls the provision, “Sweatshop Insurance.” This bill goes far beyond merely “stripping states of power over insurance rates and conditions,” he notes. It “explicitly expands the definition of ‘State’ to include not just D.C. and Puerto Rico, which makes some sense in context, but adds BY NAME the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Jack Abramoff’s favorite client-the Northern Marianas home of the ‘Made in the USA’ Chinese-owned close to slave labor sweatshops.” From pages 121–122 of the bill:

In 2001, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands famously hired corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff to enlist his support in stopping “legislation aimed at cracking down on sweatshops and sex shops in the American territory.”

“Given the record of corruption in the N. Marianas,” Webb writes, “and the willingness of various Caribbean and Atlantic Island nations to let themselves be used as off-shore banking and tax shelter entities, you can bet Aetna and WellPoint are slavering at the prospect of ‘basing’ their plans out of a PO Box on some tropical nation.”