President Donald Trump has claimed that selling insurance across state lines would trigger competition that would bring down premiums for people buying their own policies. Now, his claims are finally being put into action. The White House is finalizing an executive order that would expand health plans offered by associations to allow individuals to pool together and buy insurance out of their states. It's unclear how the White House plans to overcome opposition from state insurance regulators, who see that as an end-run to avoid standards.
However, this order may have been placed too late for it to affect the premiums for 2018. The president will sign the order at the end of this week, but legalities may push the effort down.
While nearly 9 million consumers who receive tax credits under the Obama-era law are protected from higher premiums, about 6.7 million other customers with individual coverage get no subsidies and will bear the full brunt of cost increases that reach well into the double digits in many states.
Many in this group are solid middle-class, including self-employed business people and early retirees. Cutting premiums for them has been a longstanding Republican political promise.
The president, who wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, will do what he can to get things done. It is up to both parties to see if an agreement can be made.