Looking at Congress’ complete inability to get anything done, President Donald Trump has taken it upon himself to begin the great unwinding of Obamacare.
Using the executive authority he has, Trump is sidelining a stalled Congress and will direct federal agencies to take action aimed at providing lower cost heath insurance options and fostering competition in the marketplace, The Wall Street Journal is reporting.
This move is only the first of several efforts to strike parts of the failed Affordable Healthcare Act.
One of the changes – boosting alternative insurance arrangements exempted from key ACA rule – will provide many more options for consumers. Some experts and critics say that in the end, it will only raise costs for sick people by driving younger, healthier people away from the ACA onto these alternative plans.
The executive order—which Mr. Trump plans to unveil in a signing ceremony in the Roosevelt Room Thursday, surrounded by cabinet officials and employer representatives—will aim to expand access to plans that let small businesses and possibly individuals band together to buy insurance. It will also lift limits on the sale of short-term insurance, which provides limited coverage and often appeals to healthier people. And it will seek to expand the ways in which workers use employer-funded accounts to buy their own insurance policies.
It will take months for even the simplest of changes to take effect from the executive order and leaves key details to the Labor Department to do the final rule-making, after a public-comment period.
But taken as a whole, the executive order amounts to a reversal of the broad-brush approach of Obamacare, which tried to guarantee all people a minimum level of coverage regardless their health history.
The order also will set the stage for potential future action, as Mr. Trump weighs whether to stop enforcing the ACA requirement that most Americans obtain insurance, for example, and whether to keep making payments that let insurers subsidize lower-income consumers.
And in a surprising move, the White House officials also said Wednesday night that the order would direct agencies to study and issue a report on federal and state policies that could contribute to rising health costs—including, potentially, the impact of health-care provider consolidation.
Thursday’s executive action could encourage Trump’s critics to pursue legal challenges, the WSJ said, opening a new front in the health-care battle.
But the order is likely to leave much of the implementation details to agencies, senior White House officials said Wednesday, and they said they didn’t believe the order could be litigated.
The action marks the biggest change to health care since the November election. The ACA, also called Obamacare, made sweeping changes to health insurance pricing that made insurance newly accessible for lower-income and sicker Americans, but also resulted in market turbulence and higher premiums for healthier and middle-income people, in particular.
What do you think? Is another executive order the answer to solving Obamacare? Weren’t conservatives critical of Obama for sidelining Congress in so many decisions with executive fiats? Is this a double standard? Sound off below!