NH Insider has a great post responding to a SeacoastOnline letter bemoaning the "pitifully few health insurance companies to choose from". Which, the letter-writer deduced, indicated the sore need of a government run "public option".
The Insider noted:
New Hampshire used to have a thriving and diverse insurance industry until then State Senator Jeanne Shaheen introduced SB 711 and got it passed and signed into law.SB 711 was passed in 1994 and went into effect in 1995. More information on the whole sad story is available from this article from the Heartland Institute, a free market think tank. A key conclusion:
While health insurance coverage was little affected by Shaheen's reforms, consumer choice was badly damaged. By 1997, the number of commercial health insurers serving New Hampshire dwindled to five from a previous high of 12. Those remaining in the market reduced their insurance offerings to cover only high-deductible, catastrophic-type health insurance plans.Now, to be fair: back in 1994, the New Hampshire legislature was controlled by the Republicans, and the legislation would have had to been signed by Governor Steve Merrill, also a Republican. So while Jeanne bears some responsibility for the current poor state of the health care insurance market in the Granite State, it's not her sole responsibility.
And, as the Insider notes, she's now in the US Senate, and eager to "reform" the health insurance industry nationwide. Some politicians learn from their mistakes; Jeanne sees the opportunity to make them again, and bigger.
(Via GraniteGrok's recent collection of NH rabid right-wing ideologue links, Pun Salad included there, thanks, Skip!)