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Deregulation? Really?

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Posted: 10 am ET

Now that they've passed the repeal portion of their largely symbolic repeal and replace campaign against health care reform in the House, the Republican majority has finally unveiled its replacement plan.

And what would these would-be fiscal conservatives replace health care reform with?

Envelope please: Deregulation!

Seriously.

More than 60 House Republicans signed on to a new bill Thursday that would deregulate health insurance to permit interstate sales of health plans. The goal would be to lower premium costs by avoiding state requirements that insurers cover certain services.

That's right: These legislators would have us believe that big health insurance, once freed of these pesky state shackles, would pass the savings on to us.

Oh, Bambi!

Let's take a look back at just how generous big health has been lately.

According to the 2009 Employer Health Benefits Survey published by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Education Trust, health insurance premiums have doubled for consumers since 2001. During roughly the same period, corporate profits more than tripled, according to a study by Health Care for America Now, a liberal group that supports the administration's health care reform objectives.

My right-eous friends: We know y'all can't tolerate the socialist whiff of the individual mandate. And we expected your pushback against the MLR, or medical loss ratio, that requires that 85 percent of all premiums collected be spent on health care and quality improvement.

But deregulation? Really? That's your alternative?

Based on the weight of the evidence, I would submit that it is high time for more regulation of this Wild West industry, not less.

The great irony of the Republican's "government takeover of health care" propaganda campaign, dubbed 2010 "Lie of the Year" by PolitiFact.com, is that the takeover happened long ago -- not by our government, but by big insurance and their army of bought votes in Congress.

That cacophony you hear from the right against health care reform is not the sound of hungry children or human suffering; it's the grinding to a halt of golf carts and corporate jets.

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