President Trump confirmed today that he intends to sign an executive order to allow consumers to buy healthcare insurance across state lines, thereby creating a nationwide competitive marketplace for healthcare insurance similar to what already exists for other forms of insurance.
Consumers who are in the Obamacare individual market have seen their premiums skyrocket, along with increased co-pays and deductibles, and narrower provider networks. With the latest version of the Obamacare repeal (Graham-Cassidy) stalled, this is a way that the administration hopes will bring down costs and increase product options in the interim. Under Obamacare, consumers still have to pay for mandatory coverage items that may or may not be appropriate for their age or gender, however.
During an impromptu press conference on his way to Indiana to unveil his tax plan, Trump claimed that there are now enough votes to repeal Obamacare, but one GOP senator (believed to be Thad Cochran of Mississippi) is in the hospital, and thus can't vote. With the reconciliation deadline expiring this week, the president said that the repeal-and-replace effort will begin anew in early 2018, and in the meantime he will negotiate with Democrats to help craft a bipartisan replacement for Obamacare. He also asserted that the upcoming executive order will help millions of people. The GOP only needs 50 votes in the U.S. Senate to repeal Obamacare, with VP Mike Pence ready to break the tie, but has encountered difficulties getting to 50 in the Republican caucus. The Obamacare repeal has already passed the House.
During the press gaggle, Trump praised Alabama runoff winner Judge Roy Moore, who he predicted will be a great senator, as well as second-place finisher Sen. Luther Strange. The president endorsed Strange prior to the voting. He also again slammed the NFL national anthem protests.
U.S. Senator Rand Paul, a medical doctor, championed the plan to legalize the ability for consumers to purchase insurance coverage outside of their own state. "Paul has been pitching the idea of using the Employee Retirement Income Security Act to let people buy insurance across state lines. That law already allows corporations to buy insurance across state lines for their workers if they are located in several states...Paul's idea is to let individuals form associations and do the same thing, and he said Trump administration officials have been 'enthusiastic' about the idea," the Washington Examiner explained.
Paul has noted that he likes many of the features in the latest Obamacare repeal legislation but that "block grants portion was a deal breaker for him," The Daily Caller detailed.
According to Politico, some state insurance commissioners take a dim view of multiple-state insurance sales for various reasons, but it remains to be seen how the president's executive order will be crafted. It is expected to be announced as early as next week.
Watch President Trump's impromptu press conference.[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]