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13 October 2017, 12:52 | Darnell Patrick
New US Healthcare Order to be Signed This Week?
On Thursday, the president finished his remarks about an executive order he was about to sign that would weaken key insurance regulations of the Affordable Care Act.
In addition to the health association plans, Trump said that he will explore the expansion of "short-term limited duration insurance", which are plans that are not subject to Obamacare's expensive regulations.
The order directs federal agencies to consider easing rules allowing small businesses and some individuals to buy cheaper plans with fewer benefits.
While the order does not fully repeal Obamacare, as Trump has repeatedly vowed to do, it could go a long way to reshaping it. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of "using a wrecking ball to single-handedly rip apart our healthcare system".
The switch could also allow association plans to deny coverage to the group or set rates based on the medical history of those in the group, so plans with younger, healthier members could offer lower premiums.
Trump's order was his most concrete step to undo Obamacare since he took office in January after promising voters he would dismantle the 2010 law.
After speaking, Trump almost left the room without actually signing the order, and turned around once reminded by Pence.
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The president added he would continue to press Congress to repeal and replace his predecessor's signature health bill. Rand Paul, R-Ky., believe the federal government has overstepped its bounds in regulating the private health insurance market. Health plans would be unlikely to be able to substantially cut costs because employers from regions with lower healthcare costs, like Iowa, would not want to join up with those from regions with higher healthcare costs, Antos said. Congressional Republicans refusal to work with Democrats in good faith to find bipartisan solutions to improve the Affordable Care Act, and their hyper-partisan attempts to strip care for 30 million Americans makes them complicit.
"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.
Association health plans, which are usually sponsored by trade organizations or interest groups, already exist.
Some states will likely challenge the executive order in the courts and argue the Trump administration is misusing its regulatory powers to make new policy rather than going through Congress - a charge Republicans frequently made against Obama.
Congressman Joe Kennedy III, D-Brookline, also took issue with the president's executive order.
Trump then brought up two small business owners from Louisiana, who used to use association plans for their employees, yet they could no longer afford those plans after the passage of Obamacare.
"I don't know that it accomplishes all that much" in the short-term, said Gary Claxton, a vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading health-care policy research group, when asked about the impact of the order. Shares of hospitals and insurers focused on the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income Americans have been particularly volatile this year due to efforts to roll back Obamacare. Medicaid insurers also fell with Centene off 2.6 percent. He has not committed to making billions of dollars of payments to insurers guaranteed under Obamacare, prompting many to exit the individual market or hike premiums for 2018.
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