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U.S. News and Commentary



Thursday
Sep102009

Axelrod’s offhand comment could light healthcare fuse: state compacts?

David Axelrod, senior adviser to the president, talked with Bill O'Reilly after President Barack Obama addressed Congress Wednesday. Axelrod focused on Dick Morris, but what he said about state health insurance regulations lights the fuse of opportunity.Leftist media pundits are celebrating President Barack Obama’s senior adviser David Axelrod bashing rightie pundit Dick Morris after Obama’s address Wednesday to Congress. But all missed a loaded remark Axelrod made about the states. The  top strategist for the left was talking to Bill O’Reilly and the talk show host asked about being able to purchase insurance across state lines. In his speech Obama cited an obstacle to reform—“In 34 states 75 percent of the insurance market is controlled by 4 or 5 companies.”

When O’Reilly mentioned this, Axelrod suggested—I’m paraphrasing—deregulation was a matter for the states.

Apparently I am the only analyst who saw the fuse Axelrod unintentionally lit.

In the full exchange with O’Reilly,  Axelrod focused on Dick Morris’ book, denying potential for rationing medical care once new consumers come into the market when the Democrats pass legislation. Rationing, by the way, is likely. We face a shortage of primary care physicians within a few years because the real money is in specialties.

But the adviser’s comment lights a path to state involvement in deregulation. Why can’t states form compacts to combine purchasing power with a goal of broadening the market? If you think companies won’t compete for market share, talk to your nearest CEO.

Why can’t Southeastern governors come together to pool resources, and open the health insurance market so our choices are expanded?

Right now state sovereignty is a big issue. States are wising up—the federal government might transfer taxpayer money for sure but when the feds do that, the bucks are wrapped in a big waxy ball of federal regulations. Personally I believe the answer to healthcare issues should be sought through the states anyway.

Axelrod’s offhand comment—made in defense of the dearth of choices for health insurance carriers and Congress’ negligence in dealing with it—should open the door to dialog with the nation’s governors.

How might the state legislative process benefit healthcare consumers? Is there a benefit for us in state compacts?

 It appeared to me Axelrod lit a fuse last night and unwittingly created opportunity that might benefit the taxpayer.

by Kay B. Day

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