Thursday, June 25, 2009

Legislators Say Federal Health Reform Efforts Trample States’ Rights

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Federal efforts to establish a Medicare-modeled “public plan” and a national health insurance exchange would trample states’ rights and lead Americans down the road to single-payer health care, said the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a nonpartisan organization of 1,800 state legislators nationwide.

ALEC’s lawmakers approved the Resolution on Preserving States’ Rights Regarding Federal Health Insurance Exchanges and a Public Plan, which deems the public plan anti-competitive and calls the proposed national health insurance exchange a “federal takeover” of the states’ role in regulating health insurance.

“The government will never compete unless it can change the rules to win,” says Iowa Representative Linda Upmeyer, minority whip, family nurse practitioner, and chair of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. “It’s an unlevel playing field when a public plan can shift costs to our state’s private insurers because of low doctor and hospital reimbursement rates, and then raid the federal Treasury for unlimited subsidies,” she added.

“The real goal of national health insurance exchange isn’t competition—it’s a federal power grab that flies in the face of the Tenth Amendment,” says Wisconsin Representative Leah Vukmir, ranking member of the House Committee on Health and Health Care Reform, pediatric nurse practitioner, and ALEC member. “Legislators don’t want a bloated federal health insurance bureaucracy that duplicates the regulatory functions currently performed by states. And our constituents don’t want the feds to run health care like a public utility,” she added.

“The public plan and national health insurance exchange will squeeze out private insurance and put us on the road to single-payer health care,” said Georgia Senator Judson Hill, member of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee and ALEC member. “Political pressure to keep premiums low and benefits high will result in millions dropping their private coverage and getting on the federal health care dole. Having the public plan now will mean socialized medicine later,” he added.

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