Senate Bill Could Dilute Consumer Protections by Creating Interstate Market for Health Plans

The Senate version of national health care reform legislation includes a provision that would allow consumers to purchase health plans offered in different states.

Although the health insurance industry says the provision would provide residents with more choices, critics say it could lead to weakened consumer protections.

In a California Healthline Special Report by Deirdre Kennedy, experts discussed the implications of a national health insurance marketplace.

The Special Report includes comments from:

  • Jerry Flanagan, health care policy director for Consumer Watchdog;
  • Mike Larsen, spokesperson for Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.);
  • Nadereh Pourat, associate director for research planning at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research; and
  • J.P. Wieske, director of state affairs for the Council for Affordable Health Insurance.

California currently has some of the country’s strongest regulations on health insurance companies. Advocates say stronger federal regulations could help the state maintain its consumer protections (Kennedy, California Healthline, 11/25).

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