Facts on Facts

So FactCheck.org says that Obama’s ad using the McCain quote from Contingencies is misleading and that the quote was taken out of context:

The ad relies on a single phrase from a journal article under McCain’s byline, in which he said he would reduce regulation of health insurance “as we have done over the last decade in banking.” But the full context reveals that McCain was referring narrowly to his proposal to allow people to purchase health insurance across state lines.

FactCheck insinuates this would not be the same as deregulating the banking industry. They’re wrong.

His comparison with banking regulation was limited to “opening up the insurance market” to “nationwide” competition to “provide more choices” to consumers.

Allowing people to purchase insurance across state lines isn’t beneficial to you. It’s dangerous. It strips away consumer protections. It lets companies set up shop in states with the loosest of rules. It means less oversight, less accountability, more denials, more dropped coverage, and more so-called pre-existing conditions.

FactCheck.org should do a little more work to get its facts straight.

UPDATE: Here’s a great Slate write explaining the issue:

Today, insurance companies need to follow the laws of the states where they sell individual insurance plans, just as credit-card companies did before 1978. If an insurer wants to sell policies in New York, the insurer has to obey New York’s laws. Many states pretty much let companies sell the policies they wish, but others set a floor of protections. New York laws, for example, require that companies issue coverage to all new customers and not set higher rates for people who are already sick.

Under McCain’s approach – also “championed by McCain’s Arizona colleague John Shadegg”:

An insurance company that chose to be regulated under Arizona law could sell policies in New York without following New York rules. Arizona, like most states, lets companies charge what they want to people who are sickā€”or simply deny them coverage altogether. Under Shadegg’s bill, insurers wouldn’t even need to pick up and move their operations; it would be enough to file some paperwork with a state insurance commissioner and pay that state’s relevant taxes.


What makes no sense is to neuter state regulations while putting nothing in their place. That will leave the sickest people, who drive the sickness of our health system, in more trouble than then are in now. Letting South Dakota regulate America’s credit-card industry hasn’t worked out so well. Letting Arizona do the same for health insurance would be worse.

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