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State Lawmaker Group Establishes Reform Principles

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The National Conference of Insurance Legislators supports the concept of letting states use compacts to allow interstate health insurance sales.

Members of the health committee at NCOIL, Troy, N.Y., have included that idea in a newly approved set of 12 health care reform principles.

NCOIL says it generally supports the principle of providing consumers with access to affordable coverage and quality care, but it says it opposes preemption of state regulatory authority, opposes any attempt to repeal the insurance antitrust exemption under the McCarran-Ferguson Act of 1945, and wants to make sure Congress considers how any changes in health insurance would affect other lines of insurance, such as workers’ compensation insurance.

NCOIL also is defending the idea that the states are an appropriate venue for reform, and it is questioning the federal government’s track record on health reform issues.

The benefits regulation preemption provision in Employee Retirement Income Security Act, for example, “hinders a state’s authority to make health insurance market changes,” NCOIL says.

“NCOIL is on record as opposing federally directed interstate health insurance sales, because of domicile state shopping and cherry picking risks,” NCOIL notes in another principle.

But NCOIL “supports states’ ability to enter freely into compacts with neighboring states,” the group says, and those compacts apparently could allow for the sale of health insurance across state lines.

The health care reform principles have been approved by NCOIL’s executive committee as well as by the health committee, and they are now thought of as being official NCOIL health care reform principles, an NCOIL representative says.


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