States aim to stall health-insurance expansion

With healthcare reform cooling its heels in Congress, states  are stepping into the breach, hoping to dismantle its core: The insurance mandate. Never mind that federal law tends to supersede state law in the courts, which gives the anti-mandate movement something of a tilting-at-windmills quality. It appeals to people's the-government-can't-tell-me-what-to-do bent.

The insurance mandate was one of pharma's favorite things about healthcare reform. It would expand the universe of folks who are willing to get scrips for branded medications--and to keep refilling those prescriptions. And it's integral to whatever cost-control healthcare reform proposes to achieve.

If only the people who can afford expensive insurance buy it--they and the people who are sick enough to justify the penny-pinching that being insured can require--then there aren't enough healthy people to offset the expense of paying for sick people's care. And there are too many uninsured people who can't afford to pay unexpected medical bills, so the cost of their care gets shifted to the people who are paying.

Often, those uninsured can't afford to buy their medications at cash prices, either. That's one way pharma loses out when a large portion of society lacks insurance. But will these states succeed at making sure that the portion of uninsured stays plenty big?

- read the Washington Post story

ALSO: While two-thirds of states are fighting insurance mandates, some 11 out of the 50 are trying to expand coverage for their residents via government-backed insurance or expansion of existing state programs. But tight budgets could inhibit those efforts severely. Report

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