What Does Trump's Executive Order Mean For Health Care?

Danny Woods
October 13, 2017

"With this Executive Order President Trump has made good on his promise to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and threaten the well-being of millions of Americans".

"It directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury, and the Department of Labor to take action to increase competition, increase choice, and increase access to lower-priced, high-quality health care options", Trump said.

And the order does not lift the Obamacare rule that most Americans have some form of health insurance for the year or face a tax penalty.

"This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for", the president said, "and they're going to be very happy".

While the order does not fully repeal Obamacare, as Trump has repeatedly vowed to do, it could go a long way to reshaping it.

Democratic state attorneys general have said they will sue if Trump tries to destroy Obamacare.

If this happens, experts expect premiums to rise rapidly, effectively eroding the law's protection that people with pre-existing medical conditions can not be charged more. He has also tasked various secretaries to look into "Health Reimbursement Accounts" that would assist small business owners in reimbursing their employees for healthcare expenses.

But the administration noted that the order is just the beginning of what it expects to be other executive actions to reform rules related to the Affordable Care Act.

Trump's signature to the new executive order comes less than three weeks before the November 1 start to the open-enrollment sign-up season for Obamacare.

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Paul attended the White House ceremony and was honored by Trump with a pen used to sign the executive order.

Sen. Rand Paul and Vice President Mike Pence both spoke at the signing.

Trump's efforts with congressional Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act have floundered after analyses of the GOP replacement plans showed the number of Americans without insurance would increase by more than 20 million people, as compared to current law.

"This is a case where doing something is worse than doing nothing", Ezekiel Emanuel, an oncologist and one of the architects of Obamacare, said on CNN.

This is the very problem that Obamacare was created to solve.

"We want to make sure that all the consumer protections are there and included", said Michael Munger, president of the American Academy of Family Physicians. "So this is more show than actual reality in terms of making health care affordable for Americans". It could prove easy for them to make new short-term policies quickly available that take advantage of Trump's executive order. Instead, the nationwide plans may come under the same federal oversight as large-employer policies. Those types of plans wouldn't be subject to "costly Obamacare mandates and rules" according to Trump.

The stripped-down insurance policies allowed under the order are likely to entice young and healthy people away from the individual insurance markets created by the ACA. The administration said that employers participating in these plans would not be allowed to exclude employees or develop premiums based on health conditions.

The order also directs several federal agencies to consider reversing an Obama administration directive that limited enrollment in short-term insurance plans to just three months.

Kennedy also raised concerns about the measure's potential impact on coverage for mental health and addiction issues, contending that it "hollows out existing behavioral health parity laws". Previously, they had been available for up to a year.

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