Exclusive–Marsha Blackburn Details Plan for Buying Health Insurance Across State Lines

Members of Congress come and go from the office of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) at the U.S. Capitol March 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Ryan and House GOP leaders postponed a vote on the American Health Care Act after it became apparent they did not have enough …
Chip Somodevilla / Staff / Getty Images

Over the last 7 years, while we’ve painstakingly watched Obamacare nearly destroy our healthcare system in America, we have learned quite a bit, though, to Republicans, none of it is too surprising. As it turns out, Americans want choices.  They want flexibility. They want health insurance that works for them and their families. They do not want to be told what plan to buy, when to buy it, or where to buy it. They are sick of health insurance plans they can hardly afford to buy and that are too expensive to use. They are tired of struggling to pay premiums that continue to skyrocket year after year. Sadly, Democrats have not taken those concerns into consideration.

Americans are beyond ready to see federal mandates thrown out and the marketplace open up, which is why I continue working on my legislation H.R. 314, the Health Care Choice Act. This legislation repeals Title I of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and puts in place policy that allows for the purchase of insurance across state lines. Currently, and unfortunately, that just isn’t the case. Instead, consumers are limited to purchasing health insurance plans in their state which means they cannot find a plan they like, at an affordable price.

In my home state of Tennessee, those limitations along with other Obamacare provisions, have left the state of health care grim: 130,000+ Tennesseans lost coverage last year, premiums have gone up by 62 percent for many consumers, and 73 of 95 counties have only one health insurance provider. Last year, Cigna asked for and receive a 46.4 percent premium increase, Humana, 44.3 percent, and BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, 62 percent. Seeing those numbers, it is hardly surprising that the Tennessee Insurance Commissioner said the Obamacare exchange was “very near collapse” just last summer. This is in large part because insurance companies cannot compete for business across state lines, offering better options at lower prices.

H.R. 314 would solve many of these problems. According to a study at Georgetown University, proposals to “allow individuals to purchase and insurers to sell insurance across state lines are motivated by the laudatory goals of making health insurance more affordable by increasing competition among health insurers, giving consumers more choices of products and companies.”

This legislation empowers consumers not only by giving them the ability to purchase an affordable health insurance policy with a wide range of options, but it also allows them to shop for health insurance the same way they do for other types of insurance: online, by mail, or over the phone. Allowing for choice is vital because as we know, Americans make better choices for their health care than bureaucrats in Washington.

Republicans will have many opportunities over the next couple of years to make much-needed reforms to the federal government, but we won the House, Senate, and White House promising to fix our broken health care system. We have a duty and responsibility to the American people to deliver on that and the time for that is now. As we continue having discussions on healthcare form, I encourage my colleagues to support H.R. 314 and get health care working for this country again.