Health Care: Bring Competition to Rhode Island

The New York Times reported yesterday on a little-known aspect of health care reform: a proposal to set up “exchanges” where individuals and small businesses would be able to choose from a larger selection of insurance plans than what is available just in their state. This is especially important in Rhode Island, according to a local business owner quoted in the Times story:

At Smithfield Diesel and Transmission Repair in Rhode Island, for example, for years the choice of insurers has been limited to the state’s two biggest carriers — a Blue Cross plan and United Healthcare — said Joan Frattarelli, who runs Smithfield Diesel with her husband. This year, the company’s costs went up by 29 percent, to about $34,000 for coverage of four employees under Blue Cross.

Ms. Frattarelli said she worried that some proposals in Congress would continue to restrict her options to only those plans now available in Rhode Island, which would leave her no better off. “Competition is the name of the game,” she said, “I don’t care what industry it is.”

The Heritage Foundation, however, remains unconvinced that these exchanges, as proposed by Democrats will work as advertised. Read the Heritage Foundation report here and the original New York Times story here.

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