Published On: Thu, Sep 28th, 2017

New President Trump executive order on Obamacare will allow policies across state lines, group associations to lower costs

As Congress failed to repeal and replace Obamacare, ending funding to Planned Parenthood and allow the massive insurance rate hikes from the Affordable Care Act to move ahead, impacting millions in 2018, President Trump vowed to sign an executive order to allow more flexibility for consumers.

“I’ll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things and buy their own health care, and that will be probably signed next week,” he told reporters Wednesday. “It’s being finished now. It’s going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people. Millions of people.”

On Tuesday, Republican leaders in the Senate shelved plans to vote on the latest repeal proposal after it failed to gain enough support.

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Trump appears to be backing health insurance reforms pushed by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Paul, who opposed the Senate repeal bill, wants insurers to be allowed to sell policies across state lines and for people to be able to form groups to buy 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,” Paul said on MSNBC Wednesday. “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.”

Trump also promised to return to repealing Obamacare early next year, saying he’s “almost certain” Republicans have enough votes. However, he also plans to negotiate with Democrats to “see if I can get a health care plan that’s even better.”

The concept of letting insurers sell policies in other states has been very popular among Republicans, allowing companies to only have to adhere to the regulations of their home state. So an insurer from a lightly regulated state, where policies may offer skimpier benefits and lower premiums, could start marketing its plans in a highly regulated state, where premiums tend to be higher.

Opponents, however, say that it would split the market so that healthier folks could migrate to leaner, speciallized plans, while the sick would stay in the more comprehensive plans, pushing up their rates even more. Or, sicker Americans would flock to the states that require insurers to provide more services, jacking up premiums there.

Under Obamacare, the mandates force the healthier folks to pay more out of their pockets to fund the treatment of sick and elderly patient, as well as pay for services they do not need or will ever utilize: men paying for women’s health coverage or companies paying for expansive services not needed.

A handful of states already allow this, but insurers haven’t taken them up on the offer.

“As a general matter, health insurers already have the ability to sell insurance in multiple states as long as they comply with state consumer protection and licensing laws, which many already do,” said Mike Consedine, the association’s CEO. “The NAIC has long been opposed to any attempt to reduce or preempt state authority or weaken consumer protections.”

Paul also supports association health plans which would allow small businesses that belong to a trade or professional association to pool together across state lines and buy health coverage. That would allow them to better leverage discounts and free them from mandates in specific states, he argues.

The critics point to similar problems in that association health plans could also fragment the market because it could establish itself in a state with minimal regulations, but sell policies across many states without having to adhere to their rules, according to the American Academy of Actuaries.

That would push up premiums in non-association plans — the sick folks would have to pay more to pay for their needed medical care instead of relying of funds from the healthier pool of patients.

photo/ donkeyhotey

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About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professionally in 2003 on Crazed Fanboy before expanding into other blogs and sites. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) and completed the three years Global University program in Ministerial Studies to be a pastor. To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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