If you thought the battle over health care reform was over, you are sorely mistaken.
The House Republicans are not sitting on their laurels, in fact, a hearing revisiting expanding consumer choice in purchasing health care plans across states lines happened on Wednesday in the Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Health.
I caught up with Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) after the hearing.
LL: Have you quantified the savings Americans could get if such a new health care choice plan was passed? The American consumer is facing many headwinds right now and that extra money would not only help them but also the economy as that extra money is put to other use.
Rep. Blackburn: Yes, we have quantified the savings. If you are in New York or Massachusetts, the average premium for a family in those states is just over $13,000.
If you could buy insurance across state lines, you could go into Pennsylvania and purchase the same type of plan for $6,000. So that just shows you the nature of savings that is there. Young adults coming out of college are having difficulty purchasing plans. For a young adult in New York City a plan is $6,600.
If they can shop across state lines, they could get a comparable plan in Iowa for $2,600. So when you look at the cost factor that is important. One of the things we have been able to do in my legislation is open up insurance for 12 million more Americans and not cost taxpayers a dime. My bill is not 2,700 pages. Its a simple 31 pages.
LL: What do you say to the Obama Administration's response that their plan already achieves this?
Rep. Blackburn: They are incorrect. Their health care reform does not achieve that. What it does is, it allows the secretary of HHS to make these decisions on behalf of the consumer and that not what people want. They want to be able to choose products that fit them, their families, their needs and will help them provide the coverage they want and can afford.
LL: This bill does reopen the discussion. While it may pass the House, do you truly believe it has a chance of passing in the Senate?
Rep. Blackburn: I think it does have a chance to succeed. It is a concept that has bipartisan support. The hearing set the wheels in motion to move forward on crossing state lines. We know there are staunch Obamacare supporters and they are against opening up the insurance market and repealing the insurance provisions. They would like to keep the decisions localized and made by the bureaucrats. We want to give consumers freedom of choice in their health care.
LL: How much of a headwind are you getting from the Insurance companies
Rep. Blackburn: We have some insurers that are not in favor of this at all. Go back to when Medicare first went on the books—there were just seven state mandates. Today we have over 2,100 state mandates, So those individuals that are controlling those state mandates are not in favor of this proposal. This is an idea and plan whose time has come.
A Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and author of "Thriving in the New Economy:Lessons from Today's Top Business Minds."
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