October 21st, 2009
04:18 PM ET
9 years ago

Pawlenty reaches out to governors over health care reform

 Gov. Pawlenty has penned a letter to his fellow governors.

Gov. Pawlenty has penned a letter to his fellow governors.

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.

Filed under: Health care • Tim Pawlenty
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. DallasNE

    Let's see if I follow Pawlenty's proposal. He says that he can't get the deal he wants with Blue-Cross Blue-Shield Minnesota so he wants to cross State lines to get a better deal. How much better of a deal does Pawlenty expect to get with Blue-Cross Blue Shield Iowa than he is already getting? Moving the deck chairs on the Titanic isn't the fix we need and that is what he is proposing.

    October 21, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Wake Up

    Pawlenty is correct! What's needed in Idaho isn't needed in New York!
    Federal government should not be involved in this! Here's an idea. Take less money from us, and we will deal with it at state level!!!

    You Obamabots don't understand we are the the united STATES of America. Get it?

    October 21, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. NC

    I have heard a plenty about Pawlenty CNN.

    October 21, 2009 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  4. Albo58

    Providing for competitive thus cheaper health care costs WITHOUT passing on the costs to the American taxpayers...what is Pawlenty thinking? Under his idea, we'd avoid adding $Trillions to the deficit and probably avoid bankruptcy...there's no fun in that!

    October 21, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Is this guy some kind of nut case asking governors to reach out for healthcare reform. Reach out to what when they haven't passed reform and they have already said no. I think you've got to get them to read it first, which they haven't and they won't. It's called work and we don't see Repugs willing to work.

    October 21, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. Wake Up

    Republicans would be in power if they adhered to these principles. Small Federal government! Leave the power and freedom to states and localities. Unfortunately, Repubs acted like Democrat Light. We need to get out of debt and strip the power from the Federal Government.

    October 21, 2009 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. the wasabe kid

    Pawlenty's idea may have some merit. Our federal government has become totally dysfunctional due to the ability of Conservative Senators to block almost all legislation and the willingness of millionaires and corporations to provide Conservatives with unlimited cash.

    Governors could form an alternative national government by coordinating state laws, regulations, and practices to address domestic problems like health care, immigration, pollution, education, automobile standards, etc.

    However, there are a lot of totally dysfunctional governors. States like South Carolina, Texas, Louisiana, Illinois, and others come to mind. And Conservatives should like action at the state rather than the federal level. It would be like going back to the old Articles of Confederation (google it).

    October 21, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Georgia

    Pawlenty might as well reach out to other state Governors – because the people of his own state of Minnesota can't stand him. That is why he chose not to run for another term – because he couldn't win that re-election bid.

    Republican's = Incompetence!

    October 21, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Greg C.

    We already have one gov't funded healthcare option, Medicare which is wrought with abuse, corruption, and waste; what makes you think the gov't is going to doing anything worthwhile with yet another program. Sure looks like a an excuse to line their pockets and that of their buddies. They need to quit screwing around, focus on cross-state insurance, restrict companies from denying coverage based on preexisting conditions or making it prohibitive based on those circumstances and advance tort reform to deal with greedy lawyers and their clients that look to milk the system. Fix those issues and we will go a long way to addressing systemic issues that drive up costs.

    October 21, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    GOPer: blah blah blah free market capitalism

    Person living in reality: but the insurance companies aren't subject to the Clayton Act or other antitrust laws ensuring competition

    GOPer: you just want to pull the plug on grandma and take away her medicare

    Person living in reality: but you're the ones who just voted to deny the raise in medicare reimbusements that has been passed annually in a knee-jerk manner for years now!

    GOPer: this is a krischun nashun and you can't have my guns!!!!

    Person living in reality: someone please pass me the advil

    October 21, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. ATL Guy

    You would think that if this was such a great idea that at least one state would've tried this before. The reason why it would never work is because the insurance industry has such a lock on the state legislature that it would be a dead on arrival issue. This is just obstructionism in its simplest form: it will not work but it sounds good as Republican sound bite.

    October 21, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Me, MN

    Most people get their insurance through their employers. Going across state lines would only help those with individual policies.

    October 21, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  13. kyle from ohio

    It is a funny thing when people say less goverment and get rid of the pork spending etc... Until thier state need something, or the senator or congressperson gets money for a states project. then the goverment is ok.

    And who is the Goverment your (sisters,brothers, mothers, fathers, grandparents, cousin and alike) once they get the job they become the enemy???? what a concept.

    There is a balance that can be reach if people start being more thoughtful of others and not just themselves. Walk into someone else shoes for a moment.

    October 21, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  14. jj in MN

    Just can't trust Pawlenty – I happen to live in Minnesota and he has a tendency to grand stand a lot but not really get a thing done. He refuses to tax but has put tons of "Fees" on the book. Refuses to talk with the other side and chooses to unilaterally cut and add to the budget. Just can't trust the guy.

    October 21, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. Jay T.

    Pawlenty you don't have a shot of beating Palin! Her name kind of sorta rhymes with Joseph Stalin and your's doesn't.

    Palin/ Bachman 2012!

    October 21, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Clara

    What's wrong Pawlenty, you think the insurance companies are going to hold back your cut?

    October 21, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. Lex

    Insurance that is state run is a ripoff ask anyone that had to pay for it while Bill Clinton was governer of Arkansas. This is getting more and more like Bills white house everyday. What Happened to change we could believe in ?

    October 21, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. MN voter

    Beware. He talks a good game.
    Hey Tim – how about the money you took from our schools? We have to raise our local taxes to make up the difference. I only hope it passes.

    Have any of you seen Tim? Maybe you could give him this message from Minnesota.

    October 21, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. Wake Up

    It's not ok to have any business nationalized! Especially 1/ 6 of the economy. Why would you trust National health care to a group of thugs and crooks (both parties)? But you Obamabots keep lapping up his lies and giving him more power.

    October 21, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. D. Tree

    Not only too late, but a BAD idea. You think Health Insurance companies have a monopoly now? Well wait until they all have the ability to move to states with less regulations than your own.

    We cannot give insurance companies this kind of power, Mr. Pawlenty – you are a fool or you are trying to deceive the American People!

    October 21, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Bridgette

    All the insurance companies will get together and they will put a lock down on the prices. Why are Republicans so afraid to let these insurance companies have some competition. If someone wants to stay with them they can. They know that everyone and their mother would leave those terrible companies and the Republicans will loose their cash cows.

    October 21, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Matthew

    It's about time someone used some common sense. Allow companies to cross state borders. Toss in some TORT reform and we're getting closer.

    We don't need to remake the system in one dangerous takeover.

    October 21, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. ran

    No way would this work for the people. Every governor I have seen regardless of Party has never done anything to cut cost on any insurance company either car or health. They do not even stop utilities from jacking up their prices.

    We need in this country :single payer non-profit universal health care.

    Our health should never be for profit.

    October 21, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Lynda

    Yeah just like we saw on the news today about the handicapped person that had his insurance policy cancelled.......they have pulled some of their policies out of certain states........going across state lines to buy insurance isn't a solution to the health care problem......these insurance company are going to have to go by some new Rules......mainly not being able to pull out and do away with policies just because they are having to pay out to much to insure certain people....

    October 21, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. thanks, but no thanks

    Why on earth these people are so afraid of public option? It will not be paid by raising taxes on over 90% of the population. It will provide with strong competition for the private insurance companies, and will cover most of americans. If the government can not run anything why are you so afraid of??? Unless there is an underlying issue. Yep, l thought so. Reap the benefits while people are being bankrupted and dying. Great Americans those GOPERS.....

    October 21, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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