With the defeat of the latest attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare in the rearview mirror, President Donald trump is exploring ways he can fix the dysfunctional Affordable Care Act using executive orders. According to the Washington Examiner, Trump is having just such an order drawn up to allow Americans to buy health insurance policies across state lines, creating a nationwide market. He has also promised that a new push for Repeal and Replace will happen in 2018. In the meantime, he will hear out Democrats concerning whether they are amenable to finding common ground on reforming health care reform.

What a nationwide health insurance market would do

Allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines would, at least in theory, create a national market that would be competitive and thus force premiums and copays lower. The effect will be somewhat muted because Obamacare regulations still require that individual health insurance policies cover a variety of conditions whether the customers need them or not. Hence we have strange anomalies of senior citizens getting free birth control and teetotalers getting addiction therapy.

Buying health insurance across state lines has been on the wish list for conservatives since even before Obamacare passed. The question arises, does the president have the power to do this?

It looks like that he and the nation are about to find out.

Another move at repeal and replace

In the meantime, Trump is looking forward to another attempt to pass repeal and replace. He is also going to start negotiating with Democrats to try to find common ground on fixing health care. It is doubtful that Trump will find like-minded Democrats.

Senator Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has made it known that any Senate Democrat who crosses the aisle will be primaried and cut off from party funding. The Democrats are not interested in fixing health care, except for a few who are pushing for single payer.

Nevertheless, by opening talks with the Democrats, Trump is serving notice to Senate Republicans that they had better come up with and pass their own bill, lest the president agrees to one that they might not like.

Will that be enough to finally get the Republican holdouts to say yes to a bill and pass it at long last? The gentle reader is invited to stay tuned.

The politics of fixing health care have proven terrible for Senate Republicans. On the one hand, Democrats have been demonizing them for even trying to repeal and replace Obamacare. On the contrary, everyone else is mad at them for trying and failing. A win on this issue, even at the last minute, would go a long way toward repairing the self-inflicted damage.

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