Trump signs executive order to weaken Obamacare

Trump signs executive order to weaken Obamacare

To bypass infighting within the Republican Party, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday meant to cripple the Affordable Care Act and rewrite the health insurance playbook. "And you will get such low prices for such great care". Regardless, it puts the health of millions of Americans at risk.

"The claim before we saw any of this was that it was going to make affordable coverage available to tens of millions of people".

Trump said the measures "should have been done a long time ago, and could have been done a long time ago".

It directs Trump's administration to work toward an increase in the use of association health plans, which would allow small business owners to join together in groups to purchase health insurance for themselves and their employees. The department could give employers in the same industries more flexibility to offer group coverage across state lines, providing them with a broader range of policies at lower rates.

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.

The third aspect of the order is for the administration to look at options - referred to as health reimbursement arrangements - for employers to use non-taxable income to help workers pay for medical expenses. "This reform, if it works and goes as planned, will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines at an affordable price". That could draw younger and healthier customers away from Obamacare and send premiums skyrocketing for sicker people left in the exchanges.

Stymied in Congress by the failure of Senate Republicans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, Mr Trump's executive order appears to be his administration's latest effort to undermine the 2010 law without action by legislators.

His plan announced Thursday has drawn backing from lawmakers like Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. Paul, who also criticized Obama on executive orders, was among those present for the signing.

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.

Democrats railed against Trump's move, saying it would hurt the current health care markets. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of "using a wrecking ball to single-handedly rip apart our healthcare system".

"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. Experts said consumers should not expect changes for next year. The president has long talked of his desire to make plans available across state lines, something this order will apparently do. Instead, the nationwide plans may come under the same federal oversight as large-employer policies.

"The cost of the Obamacare has been so outrageous, it is absolutely destroying everything in its wake", Trump said at a White House signing ceremony.

You can read the White House summary of the executive order here.

The new plans would also lift limits on short-term health insurance plans and circumvent Obamacare regulations requiring "essential health benefits" including maternity care, emergency room visits and mental health treatment. Crucially, these off-market plans would open the door for people with pre-existing health conditions to be charged higher rates. Also, they usually offer less comprehensive coverage.

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