White House health summit 11:53 a.m.

White House health summit 11:53 a.m.
  –Some brighter moments a few minutes ago, but same-old same-old from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisc. To wit: “WashingtonWashingtonWashingtonWashington.”

Ryan is using the GOP talking point, of course: We’re all in favor of health care. We’re all in favor of reducing waste, fraud and abuse. We’re just not in favor of Washington doing it. We don’t want government-run health care.

Obama blew that one out of the water. The key difference between the party in regard to insurance exchanges, as he points out, is that the Democrats are in favor of a “baseline” establishing some standard below which insurance coverage and health care cannot fall.

Rep. Rob Andrews, D-N.J., used the example of a woman who has a C-section. Should the woman’s insurance company be allowed to send her home from the hospital whenever it chooses, as in the GOP ‘health associations’ proposal? Or should there be, as Andrews put it, “minimum federal standards”?

As a voter, I would favor minimum federal standards. Ryan got laughed at, even in the august setting of Blair House, when he touted trusting your state government to do the job. A minimum standardization across the country would give consumers some leverage against gargantuan insurance companies–which operate across the country, but do not have nationwide monitoring under the current system, which leaves regulation of the insurance industry to the states.

Steny Hoyer of Maryland made a related statement calling for an “open, free and transparent market.”

Some of the Repubs are using any suggestion of federal reform in insurance to mischaracterize same as hindering competition.

We already have too little competition among large insurance companies. As Obama pointed out, “It is true, you can always get cheaper insurance”–if you raise your deductible, raise your co-payment, reduce the coverage. What we cannot always get is more effective, better insurance–companies are not compelled to compete to provide more effective coverage.

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