Senator John ThuneOne of the most basic principles of our economy is that people should be free to choose the best product for their own needs. When it comes to buying health insurance, individuals and employers in South Dakota and across the nation suffer from high costs and restricted choices. One of the reasons there are so few choices in health care is that people are prevented from buying health insurance from other states.
That is why I am proud to co-sponsor the Health Care Choice Act this week, which would allow individuals and employers to buy health insurance in any state, thereby expanding options for all consumers in South Dakota. This change would also bring real competition into the health insurance market.
By some estimates, the Health Care Choice Act would help bring down the cost of health insurance as much as 12 percent, on average, by letting people compare insurance plans across the country and pick the one that is right for them.
Health insurance is primarily regulated at the state level, and this legislation would not change that. Under this bill, insurance companies would no longer have to adapt policies to regulations in all 50 states, which would eliminate confusing bureaucracy and cost. Instead, plans would only have to conform to regulations in one originating state.
Reducing the cost of health insurance and making it more portable is one of the best ways to decrease the number of uninsured Americans. Many families and individuals fear moving, switching jobs or starting their own businesses for fear of losing their health insurance. That would change if they were able to shop nationwide for policies that would follow them wherever they go.
I believe we need to empower individuals and families to own the insurance plan of their choice and that fits their budget-similar to auto, homeowners, or life insurance. I would much rather see our health care system move in the direction of more freedom and less government intrusion, rather than moving toward a mandated, Washington-run system as some have proposed. Opening up the health insurance market to allow individuals more choices across state lines is an important first step to making this happen.