Don’t tell anyone I’m saying nice things about the MSM. But here goes. Kevin Drum says he can’t recall the media ever giving “any kind of serious treatment” to the question of whether patients should be allowed to buy health insurance across state lines (which Republicans think is a good thing and Kevin thinks is a very bad thing). Kevin quotes Bob Somerby, who says the media have “never” examined this issue.
Well, I was pretty sure I saw a good discussion of this in the NY Times, so I went over to their website and did a search for “health insurance across state lines”. One of this first things that pop up is this analysis from last week on the NYT’s Prescriptions Blog.
[UPDATE: This analysis actually ran in the print edition. Page 20 of the national edition from last Sunday, February 13. Which explains why I read it, since I only get the print edition on Sundays. However, no amount of searching on the NYT website has turned up any indication that this analysis ran in the print edition, and not just on the blog.]
In the NYT analysis, Kevin and Bob’s view seems pretty well represented:
Healthier adults would buy cheaper policies out of state, the budget office said, while less-healthy adults would stick to in-state insurance because it covers the services they need. Premiums would rise for the latter group as the risk pool became less healthy and more costly.
“From a consumer protection point of view, the result of allowing sales across state lines would be that the state with the least restrictive regulatory scheme would have an advantage and could undercut all the others, and you would have a race to the bottom,” said John Rother, executive vice president of policy and strategy for AARP, the lobby for older Americans, which supports the Democrats’ legislation and markets insurance itself.
Although I’m obviously tweaking Kevin here, I do think the issue was given minimal attention for a long time. But I think that’s because it was always a second- or third-tier issue in the healthcare debate, not because the MSM likes to give the GOP a pass on criticism of its talking points.
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