Surprised? Me too, and I've been following this closely for years. Here’s the breaking story today:
NY Times: The Obama administration (is) announc(ing) scores of new health insurance options to be offered to consumers around the country by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association … The options are part of a multistate insurance program that Congress authorized in 2010 to increase options for consumers shopping in the online insurance markets scheduled to open on Tuesday.
Congress conceived multistate plans as an alternative to a pure government-run insurance program — the “public option” championed by liberal Democrats and opposed by Republicans in 2009-10. In later years, the officials said, they hoped to see at least two multistate plans in every state, as Congress envisioned.
What’s old is new. We’ll see if this is really a good deal, since Blue Cross and Blue Shield already supplies insurance to federal employees who like it by 60 percent, but may still be offering outdated plans like HMO’s and PPO’s:
Under its federal contract, Blue Cross and Blue Shield will offer different products in different states — a total of more than 150 products, including health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organizations, which give discounts for using selected health care providers. In many of the products, consumers will have access to a nationwide network of doctors and hospitals.
Crossing state lines a big issue for Republicans, now they’re getting it:
Supporters of the multistate plans authorized by Congress say the plans will increase competition in local health insurance markets, many of which are dominated by one or two carriers. Federal officials said the multistate plan would also be in operation next year in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.