Critical Condition

NRO’s health-care blog.

More on Buying Health Insurance Across State Lines


I’ve expressed a real lack of enthusiasm for the Republican proposal that Congress should pass a law allowing groups to go jurisdiction-shopping for health insurance, especially in the absence of eliminating the prejudice against individual ownership of health insurance.

One correspondent chided me for allowing states’ “geographic monopolies” to stand in the way of competition. But isn’t that a fundamental characteristic of a state — that it has a monopoly over state laws within its own boundaries? If you don’t like it, vote in a new legislature or move to another state. I live in California, where personal income taxes are way too high and harmful to our welfare. But I’ve never heard a Republican politician propose that Congress pass a law allowing individuals to choose which state’s rate of income tax they pay, so Californians could opt to pay zero income tax by choosing Florida’s tax rates.

In any case, this is irrelevant: States can just go ahead and allow interstate purchasing of health insurance themselves. Here’s a bill in Washington State to allow just that; and here’s one in Georgia. So, just get on with it. There’s no need to wait for Congress to act.

John R. Graham is director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.


Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review