WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) — Republicans still have not fulfilled their biggest campaign promise — to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Now, President Donald Trump is signaling he may go it alone without Congress and take executive action to allow insurers to sell health plans across state lines.
“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,” Trump said last week on the South Lawn of the White House. “It’s being finished now. It’s going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people, millions of people.”
Details of any executive order are still unknown, but Trump already has some early support.
“I’m all for it. If it’s constitutional. and he’s got some pretty good lawyers, I assume that he does, I’m all for it,” said Sen. John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican.
Republicans say they will support Trump’s executive action to fix Obamacare, but feel backed in the corner legislatively.
“I don’t think there’s any question about it. I’m a member of the legislative branch and I would rather us do it legislatively. However, in this situation where we can’t get the Senate to pass anything, obviously the president’s got to do something,” said Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican from Georgia.
Democratic Texas Rep. Lloyd Doggett does not believe the president is ready to have the federal government guarantee what state regulators provide.
“There needs to be adequate consumer protection so that these health care policies don’t take away in the fine print what they promise in the sales promotion,” Doggett said.
Republicans argue selling health plans across state lines would improve competition and give consumers more choice. But Democrats push back on that claim and say cross-state sales could get confusing.
“If you buy a policy in Louisiana, you’re under Louisiana law unless it’s a national policy like the Affordable Care Act and that way you’re under federal law. On a Texas hospital it’s just going to confuse the issue,” Rep. Gene Green, a Democrat from Texas, said.
The Affordable Care Act already allows cross-state insurance, but only eight states are trying it. One big reason is insurance companies tailor their policies to their local customers.