March 25, 2018

Trump signs executive order on health care

12 October 2017, 07:40 | Taylor George

New US Healthcare Order to be Signed This Week?

President Donald Trump meets with former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger in the Oval Office

President Trump is expected to issue an executive order this week providing at least some relief from skyrocketing health insurance premiums that resulted from the Affordable Care Act.

The order comes as a GOP controlled Congress has failed repeatedly to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, much to the consternation of the president.

Trump teased that he would sign a "very major" executive order on health care back on September 27.

"I will be signing something probably this week which is going to go a long way to take care of people that have been so badly hurt on health care", Trump said Tuesday ahead of a meeting with Henry Kissinger, the former secretary of state. He said that these changes are aimed at creating lower prices and increasing competition, and that insurance companies would be "fighting" to lower prices to get more people signed up.

However, it could also destabilize Obamacare by siphoning out younger and healthier Americans from the exchanges. "They will be able to buy across state lines". As failures during the past few months made clear, getting that done will take time. The plan has drawn backing from lawmakers like Sen.

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Trump signed the order in the White House's Roosevelt Room surrounded by Vice President Mike Pence, members of his Cabinet and Congress including Kentucky's U.S. Senator Rand Paul.

White House domestic policy director Andrew Bremberg stressed that Trump still believes Congress needs to repeal and replace the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. Specifically, the order directs federal agencies to relax rules on coverage (see an explainer here).

Those "association health plans" could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements. Instead, the nationwide plans may come under the same federal oversight as large-employer policies. That reflects Trump's longstanding belief that interstate competition will lead to lower premiums for consumers who buy their own health insurance policies, as well as for small businesses. The administration said that employers participating in these plans would not be allowed to exclude employees or develop premiums based on health conditions. But association health plan policies would likely provide skimpier coverage since they would not have to adhere to all of Obamacare's protections.

Sponsors would have to be found to offer and market the new style association plans, and insurers would have to step up to design and administer them. Previously, they had been available for up to a year.

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