President Donald Trump ran on a campaign message of repealing and replacing Obamacare, and even though nominally Republican senators including Arizona’s John “One Vote” McCain have stood in the way of major legislation, the president continues his fight to liberate the American people from healthcare.
“Repeal and Replace Obamacare” was a hallmark of the 2016 election. The phrase was echoed by virtually every Republican candidate for president, and was a mainstay of congressional races throughout the country. While Congress was able to pass legislation to repeal it during the Obama administration, it has been either unable or unwilling to do so under President Trump.
Partially as a response to the lack of enthusiasm from Republican congressmen, the Wall Street Journal reports that a senior administration official has announced the president’s plans to sign a surprise executive order this week that dismantle one some of the most egregious parts of Obamacare:
“President Donald Trump will sign an executive order next week to start lifting some insurance rules set by his predecessor’s Affordable Care Act in the aftermath of the failed Republican bid to repeal the law, a senior administration official said Saturday.
The order is aimed at expanding insurance options for Americans who buy coverage on their own or work for a small employer, and would include broad instructions for agencies to explore ways to loosen regulations and potentially lower premiums, as well as looking at three specific areas of health insurance. It has been anticipated by industry officials and political observers in the days since the GOP repeal effort crashed.”
Three agencies, the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, will be ordered by the President to take action aimed at making it easier for people to band together and buy insurance through “association health plans,” the official said.
It’s an unprecedented move, and shows how ineffective and spineless the Congress has been – President Trump is set to do more in nine months than dozens of senators and hundreds of representatives could do in eight years.
“The president also will order the agencies to start winding back an Obama-era rule curbing coverage known as ‘short-term medical insurance,’ a low-cost but limited-protection option, and allow people to once again buy those plans for up to a year, the official said.
The Obama administration banned the sale of those plans that offered coverage for more than 90 days, arguing they were inadequate for people’s needs. Some industry officials have pressed the administration to restore them, saying that when marketed honestly they can fit the needs of particular consumers currently priced out of buying the more generous coverage available as a result of the 2010 health-care overhaul.
In addition, the executive order would order agencies to expand health reimbursement accounts, employer-funded arrangements that employees can use to pay out-of-pocket medical costs and premiums. Obama-era guidance from 2013 had prevented pretax employer dollars in the arrangements from being used to buy health insurance on the individual market.”
Officials went on to say that the three moves are likely to be followed by more in the future, and would represent the most substantive step the White House has taken to date in BTFOing Affordable Care Act rules using administrative powers.
All in all, it looks like the administration is finally starting to swing into gear when it comes to fulfilling major campaign promises.