Health Care

Trump's EO Injects Competition Into ObamaCare

Sen. Rand Paul called it "the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation."

Political Editors · Oct. 12, 2017

On Thursday, President Donald Trump bypassed a weak-kneed Republican Congress and began rolling back ObamaCare with an executive order that injects free market measures into the law. As he signed the order, Trump said, “So this is promoting health care, choice and competition all across the United States. This is going to be something that millions and millions of people will be signing up for and they’re going to be very happy. This will be great health care.” Trump declared that this was the first step in “providing millions of Americans with ObamaCare relief.”

So what does Trump’s executive order accomplish? Primarily, it directs the secretary of labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans. This would allow employers the freedom to form groups which offer coverage across state lines. “Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up,” Trump stated, adding, “And you will hopefully be negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you’ll get such low prices for such great care.”

Another impact of this order would be that those “association health plans” could be immune from some state and federal insurance requirements. At the same time employers would not be free to exclude employees from their plans based on preexisting conditions, nor charge more to those employees with long-term health issues.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a leading critic of the “Affordable” Care Act, called Trump’s order “the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation.” Paul also stated, “This reform, if it works and goes as planned, will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines at an inexpensive price.” Indeed, as news continues to come out of more and more insurance companies pulling out of various state-backed ObamaCare exchanges, this is welcome news.

A final note: Trump tweeted yesterday, “Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people — FAST.” That “pen” part sounds eerily like Barack Obama, but Trump’s action is substantially different. While Democrats, who controlled Congress at the time ObamaCare passed, deliberately left a lot of the law’s details to be worked out by the administration, Trump is now wielding that same power to undo some of the damage. Live by the pen, die by the pen.


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