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Health insurers could cross state lines

John Dimsdale Sep 17, 2009
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Health insurers could cross state lines

John Dimsdale Sep 17, 2009
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TEXT OF STORY

Bill Radke: President Obama keeps up the health care pressure today with a big rally at the University of Maryland. Meanwhile in Congress today, Senate Finance Committee chair Max Baucus tries to sell fellow Democrats on his new health care package. The Baucus plan would allow health insurers to compete for policyholders across state lines. Marketplace’s John Dimsdale reports on this idea of interstate competition.


John Dimsdale: Insurers marketing health care policies nationwide could help break up the near monopolies that exist in some states, according to Elizabeth Carpenter at the New America Foundation.

Elizabeth Carpenter: What this would do is allow somebody in Alabama or in Maine where there’s not a lot of competition, to access a quality, affordable product that’s available nationwide.

Some state insurance regulators worry that nationwide plans could crowd out smaller insurance providers and end up reducing choices. But Kansas insurance commissioner Sandy Praeger says local companies have their own way of competing.

Sandy Praeger: Some of the smaller companies are a known quantity. These are folks that live and work and go to church and their kids go to school together, and because of that they’re trusted.

Under the Baucus plan, state insurance regulators would still decide whether nationwide health care policies can be sold in their states.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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