Monday, October 10, 2016

Alexander: Congress should pass emergency, one-year legislation allowing states to offer more health insurance options.

From Lamar Alexander

September brought more evidence that Obamacare is falling apart. On September 26, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee – the state’s largest insurer – announced it will no longer offer insurance in Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville either on the Tennessee Obamacare exchange or in the individual insurance markets, leaving Tennesseans in those areas scrambling to find a new health plan for next year.

You’ve probably read in the news that Tennessee Obamacare exchange health insurance rates may be 60 percent higher next year than they were this year for the same insurance policy. And come November, as Tennesseans go to purchase their plans for next year, with insurance companies like BlueCross BlueShield and United Health Group no longer offering insurance on some or all Obamacare exchanges in the state, people in 73 out of 95 Tennessee counties will have only one insurer to choose from when buying health insurance on the Obamacare exchange.

That is why I, along with seven other senators, introduced emergency, one-year legislation to give governors in states where Obamacare is failing the authority to give their citizens the option of using their Obamacare subsidy to buy health insurance wherever they can find it, whether on or off the Obamacare exchange, and waive any penalty if they are unable to find a plan that suits them or their families’ needs.

This one-year solution is not a substitute for the long-term need to repeal and replace Obamacare with step-by-step reforms that put patients in charge, giving them more choices and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it. A full repeal of Obamacare will require a Republican president next year. Even if we have a Democratic president next year, we cannot continue without making big, structural changes soon to avoid a collapse of our nation’s health insurance market.

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