Trump Uses Executive Pen To Chip Away At Obamacare

Tamir Kalifa	

	U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett speaks at a town hall on health

Tamir Kalifa U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett speaks at a town hall on health

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order on healthcare directing the USA government to increase competition and change a number of the existing Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, Sputnik reports.

Fortunately, Pence grabbed Trump before he exited the room and reminded him that you can't hold an executive order signing and not sign an executive order.

"This will cost the United States government virtually nothing, and people will have great, great healthcare", said Trump. "And when I say people, I mean by the millions and millions".

"The competition will be staggering", Trump said.

The executive order's main provision likely aims to make it easier for small employers to buy insurance through so-called association health plans, which are usually sponsored by trade organizations or interest groups.

Consumers could also buy short-term policies that would skirt protections in place for pre-existing conditions.

But the changes Trump hopes to bring about could take months or even longer, according to administration officials who outlined the order for reporters Thursday morning.

Supporters of the current health law called the order "sabotage", a way to destroy the Affordable Care Act without winning a majority in Congress.

"I just keep hearing repeal and replace, repeal, replace, well, we're starting that process", Trump said Thursday, calling the order a first step "to providing millions of Americans with Obamacare relief".

"They will be able to buy across state lines. They will get great competitive health care and it will cost the United States nothing".

While the order does not fully repeal Obamacare, as Trump has repeatedly vowed to do, it could go a long way to reshaping it. The plan has drawn backing from lawmakers like Sen.

A decision by Obama appointees in 2011 discouraged the use of association health plans as a substitute for Affordable Care Act policies because officials feared they would be used to circumvent the law's coverage mandates.

A White House official said that "employers participating in an association health plan can not exclude any employee from joining the plan and can not develop premiums based on health conditions" of individual employees. Spurred by the executive order, federal agencies could amend the rules governing these plans so they are no longer subject to state regulation, said health policy experts, speaking before the order was issued. Instead, the nationwide plans would be subject to the same federal oversight as large-employer policies.

The order, however, does not lift the Obamacare individual mandate that requires most Americans to have some form of health insurance or face a tax penalty.

The switch could also allow association plans to deny coverage to the group or set rates based on the medical history of those in the group, so plans with younger, healthier members could offer lower premiums. But responding to concerns, the White House said participating employers could not exclude any workers from the plan, or charge more to those in poor health.

Trump also directed the secretaries of the Treasury, labor and health and human services to find ways of expanding access to "short-term limited duration insurance".

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