Some former AMA Presidents have their turn in today’s Wall Street Journal to push for legislation allowing Americans to buy health insurance from insurers in any state. How exactly that would help remains a mystery. Consider my plight in Illinois. I can buy insurance from the local Blue Cross plan, or from United, Aetna, Cigna, or Humana, all of which have Illinois divisions. Let’s suppose I wanted to buy insurance from out of state. I happen to have data on Connecticut’s insurance market close at hand so I will use that as an example. If I wanted insurance from one of that state’s plans, I could purchase from a Blue plan, or from United, Aetna, or Cigna’s Connecticut divisions. Big help! Oh yes, there are also a couple of HMOs in Connecticut. The problem is that I would have to go to Connecticut to see a doctor. Pretty much the same story can be told for every state. We might well need more insurance market competition, but this isn’t the way to get it.
Are opponents to reform so intellectually bankrupt that this is the best they can offer?