Monday, December 14, 2009

All quiet on the health reform front?

Mostly, but not completely. Some conservative commentators have been postulating that the current health reform movement is fundamentally unconstitutional because it will infringe on state's rights. Over the past several days, an organization called the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), comprised of rightward leaning state legislators, has been busy working on a variety of bills to be introduced in various states. These proposals are designed to reassert state authority over the health insurance industry... thus short-circuiting the Federal health reform push.

According to ALEC's website (link here), their goal is to provide: "State Legislators with the Tools They Need to Fight ObamaCare". One cornerstone of the movement is to oppose the creation of health insurance exchanges for individuals and small business. They've been actively opposing the public option, but that has now been taken off the table. On the first point, according to ALEC: "a federal exchange would undermine states’ oversight role in health insurance and cause a substantial shift in the regulation of the health insurance market from the states to the federal government."

The internet is buzzing with reports that the force behind ALEC is the self-interested private health insurance industry. The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association has been specifically and repeatedly called out. Their response has been to admit the ALEC association, but also to point out that they maintain numerous relationships with a number of groups to advocate for their interests. It's no surprise that the insurance industry has long been warning against the ill effects of health reform, namely that private insurance costs will skyrocket.

So, front pages are suddenly absent reports about health reform. But that does not mean that those who oppose it have given up the fight.

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