So there's this:

"[T]here are 36 states relying on the federal infrastructure of ... A recent article ... postulated whether this setup might turn into a national health insurance exchange"

They make a strong case: as more and more states bail on their own homegrown versions, and throw in with the system, it makes sense to then streamline that system. And a very easy, cost-effective way to do that is to - surprise! - limit carrier choice (just as the ObamaPlans limit provider choice).

Insurance agent Anne Petry predicts that a "national exchange could force those [regional companies that have regional networks] out of business."

Hence the question: Feature or bug?

Co-blogger Nate believes that such a move would "hasten the death of PPOs and hasten the movement to referenced based pricing. Price rules for the 80%+ that are average to healthy."

As for me, I've always believed that this whole scheme was merely a step towards a full-blown single-payer system. And this latest development does nothing to convince me otherwise.