The GOP Health Care Plan: Worse Than You Think

As it turns out, the GOP’s health care reform bill is worse that previously thought.

Yesterday, I discussed how the GOP plan will let insurance companies sell plans across state lines. As part of that, insurers would be able to choose a ‘primary state’ to operate out of; that state’s laws would then govern that company’s insurance policies everywhere they do business.

My theory is that, under the GOP plan, insurance companies would simply pick the most laxly-regulated state as their ‘primary state,’ thus allowing them to continue the same shoddy practices which helped cause our health care crisis in the first place (such as denying coverage due to preexisting conditions and dropping coverage for those who become seriously ill).

Well, it turns out I was wrong, because it will actually be worse than that. In the GOP bill, the list of potential ‘primary states’ isn’t just limited to states–it includes American territories such as American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

That last one will probably jump out at some of you…

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) was a prominent part of the Jack Abramoff scandal, since Abramoff had been hired to lobby Congress on the behalf of the government of the CNMI. Partially due to such lobbying, the Mariana Islands are exempt from American labor, wage, and immigration laws.

Manufacturers–particularly textile manufacturers–have set up shop there in order to claim that they are an American company with American-made products without actually having to abide by American labor laws.

There have been numerous horror stories of the terrible labor practices in the CNMI, such as include foreign laborers being turned into indentured servants, sweatshop-like working conditions and workers being sold into sex slavery.

And yet, that’s the kind of place Republicans want to let regulate your health insurance. Under the GOP plan, insurance companies would be able to make the regulation-free CNMI their ‘primary state,’ thus allowing them to operate free of any business regulations whatsoever.

As I said before, the GOP plan is a huge insurance industry giveaway. Allowing insurance companies to, for all intents and purposes, regulate themselves is just one of the reasons why the Republican health care plan is possibly one of the worst pieces of ‘reform’ legislation ever introduced.

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