U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill plans to introduce legislation that would enable people to buy insurance from the same health exchange as members of Congress, if all insurers pull out of their county.
The legislation is meant to address a problem facing rural counties amid the uncertainty of the future of the Affordable Care Act.
In many counties in Missouri and nationwide, only one insurer will sell on the health care exchanges, said McCaskill, a Missouri Democrat. If these insurers pull out of those counties, people will have no choice for health insurance, she said.
“Some of the insurance companies are threatening to pull out because, frankly, there has been no signal from this administration that they are willing to support these exchanges,” McCaskill said, referring to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric and the uncertainty of future federal funding for the exchanges.
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McCaskill’s bill would allow people in these counties to purchase insurance through the District of Columbia’s exchange, which is where many members of Congress and their staffs get their insurance. The D.C. exchange has national plans, so a person working in a congressman’s district office in Alabama, for example, can get insurance in that state, she said.
McCaskill, who called the bill a preventive measure, said she was hopeful that she could find bipartisan support for the idea.
“The biggest problem we’re going to have here is whether there’s an acknowledgment that we need to repair whether than repeal,” she said.