WASHINGTON (CNN) – Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty reached out Wednesday to his fellow governors throughout the country with his proposal for states to work together to allow the purchase of health insurance across state lines.
Pawlenty's proposal, called the "Interstate Health Insurance Compact," "would allow participating states to share common regulatory standards," Pawlenty writes in a letter to his 49 counterparts.
Pawlenty also wrote that banding together would allow states to facilitate purchasing insurance across their borders and, drawing on terms frequently used by the Obama administration in its push for health care reform legislation, the Minnesota Republican said such a change would increase "competition and choice."
"[H]ealth insurance is an area that would benefit from a consistent standards to enable true market competition to flourish nationally," Pawlenty's letter says, "Those standards should be informed by the collective wisdom of those closest to consumers – states and their insurance regulators."
Pawlenty initially rolled out his proposal to allow Minnesotans to purchase health insurance across state lines last week. Wednesday's letter invites the country's 49 other governors to join in that proposal.
Pawlenty is widely considered a likely contender for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination and his proposal regarding the interstate purchase of health insurance is a proposal mentioned frequently by congressional Republicans who oppose many of the details of Democratic health care reform proposals.
After a trade group for the health insurance industry released a report critical of the health care reform bill produced by the Senate Finance Committee, Democrats in the Senate have said they may seek to repeal the federal law that prohibits the sale of health insurance across state lines and that also exempts health insurers from antitrust laws. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary committee approved a measure that would strip the health insurance industry of some of its protections from federal antritrust laws.
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