Healthy Choice: Allowing Consumers to Buy Health Insurance across State Lines Would Help Expand Coverage

The American (Washington, DC), November-December 2008 | Go to article overview

Healthy Choice: Allowing Consumers to Buy Health Insurance across State Lines Would Help Expand Coverage


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We went to press before Election Day, so we don't know whether to congratulate President-elect McCain or President-elect Obama. But we do know that the next administration, Republican or Democratic, will seek to reduce the number of Americans without health insurance.

Here's one suggestion: let consumers purchase their health insurance policies across state lines. In recent years, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) have introduced legislation that would do just that. Candidate McCain made the idea a centerpiece of his healthcare platform. A new study from the University of Minnesota estimates that creating a national marketplace for health insurance would boost the number of insured Americans by a minimum of nearly 2.8 million and by a maximum of almost 17 million. The moderate expected effect would be an increase of more than 12 million.

The gains would be largest in heavily regulated states where mandates have inflated the costs of insurance. In New Jersey, for example, a national marketplace for health insurance would swell the number of insured by 49 percent. …

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Healthy Choice: Allowing Consumers to Buy Health Insurance across State Lines Would Help Expand Coverage
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