With Tim Johnson, the lead sponsor of the Optional Federal Charter for insurance companies back in the U.S. Senate next week, it’s likely that the debate over the bill will heat up. The proposal, which I’ve written about here, would let insurance companies do what banks have done since the Civil War and organize themselves under federal rather than state laws. I’m hardly wild about creating a new federal bureaucracy but, in my judgment, adding an infinitesimal amount to an already overgrown government is a small price to pay for a system that would promote competition between regulators and free the economy from government-set insurance prices.
Ultimately, however, I see this debate as more than a fight about the nature of insurance regulation alone. We’re clearly entering into a phase where government regulation is becoming more popular with the public.
Right now, OFC seems like the most plausible de-regulatory proposal that has a real chance of passing. If we can pass OFC–or even get some real momentum–it will show that we can get momentum for an anti-regulatory counter-trend.