Obama Administration Supports More Health Insurance Competition, Declines to Do Anything About It


Barack Obama and his aides often complain about the lack of competition in health insurance markets. So why not let insurers compete across state lines? Wolf Blitzer asks top White House adviser David Axelrod and finds that, essentially, the answer amounts to, "Uh, erm, because, well, we—Hey, look! A blimp!" 


Okay, so it's not quite that bad, but as far as I can tell, Axelrod offers nothing approaching an actual reason for refusing to allow competition across state lines. Instead, he mixes anxious babble about "symbolic expiditions" with platitudes about the interests of consumers and unspecified "disruptions" and whether a national insurance market would be "endemic to the kind of reform" the White House is trying to pass. In other words, the White House opposes it, but he doesn't know why.

But here's the key line from Blitzer: "If the president wanted greater competition, he could change the law and let health insurance companies compete nationally." That's not quite true—Congress would need to be involved; the president couldn't do it unilaterally—but the president certainly could support reforms aimed at tearing down barriers to nation-wide competition. But as we know, he's not—despite, from the looks of this segment, having little reason not to.