An important health insurance bill passed the Legislature this session, but has received little attention from a distracted media.
Ever since Obama largely socialized the country’s health care system, various folks have been calling for increased competition as the solution to the mess he and Pelosi have created. Many Republicans have called for reforms to allow insurance carriers to sell policies across state lines. But like much of the conservative agenda – Congress has failed to act.
But Idaho has. Sen. Dan Foreman and Rep. Tom Loertscher got legislation passed this year which will make it possible for out-of-state companies to compete with Blue Cross in Idaho. (SB 1288). This is a market-based reform that could help lead to slower growth in premiums.
The long term impact will largely depend on who is elected governor this year, and who serves in the Department of Insurance next year. No doubt there will have to be an outreach effort to encourage companies to market their plans in Idaho and compete with the Blue Cross monopoly.
Evidence has surfaced that the insurance companies who survived thus far in the ObamaCare era are beginning to make serious profits, as are institutional health care providers. After all, the massive increase in government spending on health care has to be going to somewhere. And the 200% increase in private family premiums aren’t hurting the bottom line for Blue Cross and St. Luke’s either.
We heartily commend Loertscher and Foreman for their leadership in getting this bill passed. America has a long and successful experience with free market solutions to social problems: Competition has brought Americans a tremendous quality of life. It is obvious that that is the path out of this health care mess. But few of our politicians appear willing to bring that grand solution to the policy table.