President Trump signed an executive order taking action on ObamaCare after Congress failed to pass a repeal bill several times.
Trump described the executive order as “starting the process” of the repeal of ObamaCare and the “first steps to providing millions of Americans with ObamaCare relief.”
Administration officials said Thursday’s action was just the beginning of the administration’s actions related to the Affordable Care Act. The order does not include a lot of specifics, rather it directs agencies to find ways to issue new regulations or guidance.
However, Democrats blasted the action warning that it would cause a spike in premiums and destabilize the ObamaCare markets by allowing small businesses and other groups to come together and buy health insurance through association health plans (AHPs).
These association plans would allow small businesses and other groups to buy cheaper plans with fewer standard benefits than the ObamaCare marketplace plans. Experts have warned that healthier people would join these plans which would lead to a spike in premiums for ObamaCare plans, or insurers leaving the marketplace.
“Having failed to repeal the law in Congress, the president is sabotaging the system, using a wrecking ball to singlehandedly rip apart our health care system,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said in a statement. “If the system deteriorates, make no mistake about it, the blame will fall squarely on the president’s back.”
The executive order does not specify whether individuals will be able to buy association plans or if they they will still have to pay the penalty for not buying insurance.
President Trump’s executive order was a win for Kentucky Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) who worked with the White House on the order and has been advocating the association plans.
In an op-ed on Breitbart, Paul said the order will allow Americans to buy insurance across that lines — a policy proposal championed by Trump during the presidential campaign.
“You will be able to choose among better and cheaper insurance that works for you — something Obamacare made illegal. You will be able to buy across state lines, opening up competition for the best plans. Many Obamacare regulations will be waived for those in these groups, including costly mandates on what the plans must cover.
Best of all, this isn’t a government mandate. It isn’t a subsidy. It isn’t a tax. Rather, it is the removal of government regulation and barriers to the best possible health care for millions of people.”
The president’s actions comes after several failed attempts by Senate Republicans to pass an ObamaCare repeal bill and is just one of many moves the president has taken this week to make good on campaign promises.