Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation, U.S. Census, Center for American Progress Action Fund


Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) health care plan would allow private insurance companies to sell health care plans across state lines, which they currently cannot do. As it stands insurance companies must comply with consumer protection laws in each state in which they operate. Yet McCain’s plan would allow the companies to incorporate in states with the weakest consumer protections—like credit card companies can do today.

This means big insurance companies could avoid following important laws passed by individual states that help keep health care accessible and affordable.

Three protections, which exist in most but not all states, illustrate the types of protections that would be gutted under John McCain.

  • Patient’s right of review: Forty-four states and the District of Columbia allow people with health insurance to appeal to an external review board if their insurer denies them coverage or benefits, creating a check on insurance company power.
  • Require breast cancer screening coverage: Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia require managed care organizations to cover breast cancer screening.
  • Maximum look-back period: Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have a maximum “look-back” period that determines how far back an insurance company can look into medical history to determine whether or not to provide coverage. These provisions keep private health insurers from denying coverage to people who had medical problems in the distant past. For twenty-six states, this “look-back period” is 12 months or less. Thirteen states have no look-back protections at all.

Read a full analysis of the consequnces of losing these protections here.

Back to McCain’s Bad Medicine: A 50 State Analysis of John McCain’s Health Care Plan


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