Gregory Korte, USA TODAY – WASHINGTON — President Trump said he’ll sign an executive order to allow consumers to purchase their health plans across state lines, going around Congress to provide Americans with “great health insurance again.”
Trump’s comments Tuesday provided a more detailed explanation of an idea he’s floated before, which he says will be able to provide cheaper health insurance for many consumers hit by skyrocketing premiums.
“They’ll be able to cross state lines, and they will get great, competitive healthcare, and it will cost the United States nothing,” Trump said. “But it will be great, great healthcare for many, many people — a big percentage of the number of people that we were talking about for failed Obamacare.”
The move follows at least six failed attempts by the Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health insurance law. “With Congress the way it is, I decided to take it upon myself,” Trump said.
In resorting to executive action, Trump is doing something he often criticized Obama doing. “Nobody wants to listen to him, including the Democrats, so he just goes around signing executive orders,” Trump said in 2015.
But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump has a clear mandate to take action with or without Congress.
“Due to Congress failing to act, it’s no surprise that the president is going to try to provide flexibility and relief to the millions of Americans who continue to suffer under Obamacare,” she said.
Still, it’s unclear how Trump’s order will change the current system. States are responsible for regulating health insurance plans within their borders, but many already allow their residents to purchase out-of-state plans through interstate agreements.
The issue is whether the federal government can preempt state minimum coverage standards for insurance coverage sold in their states.
“It’s largely worked out,” Trump said. “It’s very simple in one way but very intricate in another.”