Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A New Nat'l Health Insurance Czar?

Reform could include national health insurance czar
July 7, 2009 — 11:39am ET | By Anne Zieger

Right now, virtually all of the critical regs and laws that health plans follow come from the states in which they do business. So if a provision in the new draft reform bill released by House Democrats passes, life could get very complicated for the plans, who are used to muscling state legislators and insurance commissioners--but not the feds.

The draft proposal would create a new federal insurance agency to oversee medical plans across the U.S. The proposed new agency, the Health Choices Administration, would sit atop a restructured insurance marketplace. Its job would be to run a national purchasing pool allowing individuals and small businesses to sift through private plans and a government-sponsored alternative plan.

The new legislation would also create something brand new--a national consumer advocate's office--pulling a total of five federal agencies into the mix.

The measure is expected to go under the microscope quickly, as the Obama Administration and key legislators have vowed to move ahead health reform before Congress goes on its August vacation.

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