One day after Congress failed in their last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, President Donald Trump announced his intention to sign an executive order that would affect health care for millions of citizens, stating that the order is “going to cover a lot of territory” and “will be probably signed next week.”
As reported by CNN, Trump spoke with reporters on Wednesday, stating, “I’ll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lot of things and buy their own health care, and that will be probably signed next week.”
Trump went on to say, “It’s being finished now. It’s going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people. Millions of people.”
The announcement comes after Senate Republican leaders decided not to press forward with voting on the latest repeal efforts, known as the Graham-Cassidy Health Care Bill, after it became apparent that there wasn’t sufficient support.
At this point, it appears that Trump may be backing insurance reforms recommended by Senator Rand Paul who wants to see insurers have the ability to sell insurance policies in other states and give people the option for form groups for the purpose of buying coverage.
“I believe President Trump can legalize on his own the ability of individuals to join a group or health association across state lines to buy insurance,” said Paul. “This would bring enormous leverage to bringing down prices. It would also bring protection to individuals who feel left out, hung out to dry, basically.”
Many Republicans have been advocating for the ability of insurers to sell policies across state lines, though the idea isn’t as well supported by the insurers themselves as well as consumer advocates and state regulators.
The concept centers on insurance companies being able to sell policies in multiple states while only being beholden to the regulations of their home state. This means insurers in lesser regulated states, whose plans may offer fewer benefits along with lower premiums, could market their policies in highly regulated states where insurance premiums tend to be more substantial.
A small number of states already allow insurers to offer their plans in this way, though no company has acted on their ability to market and sell in these states. Additionally, states have the right to join in compacts as a method of opening their borders, though none have chosen to do so.
Supporters suggest that allowing sales across state lines promotes competition, allows consumers more choices, and would reduce rates. Opponents believe it would lead healthier individuals to focus on leaner plans while those who need more comprehensive medical insurance would remain with their current plans, though the rates for them would likely increase.
Since Obamacare mandates that all insurers offer specific benefits, the idea of selling across state lines is less attractive to insurance companies.
Additionally, many insurance rules are governed at the state level, and it is unknown whether Trump has the ability to change these through an executive order.