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Trump Executive Order Looks to Upend Obamacare

by Countable | 10.10.17

What’s the story?

Republicans have run on promises to repeal Obamacare for years now. President Trump ran on those promises as well. But even controlling both houses of Congress and the White House, the GOP has not been able to pass legislation to change the law.

Now President Trump is reportedly taking matters into his own hands with an upcoming executive order that will change significant aspects of Obamacare and achieve GOP policy priorities that haven’t been able to advance any other way.

Why does it matter?

Tuesday morning President Trump tweeted out his intention to quickly do what Congress has been unable to:

The Washington Post reports the executive order the president plans to use the power of his pen to sign will likely hit his desk on Thursday. It is expected to have a few key components that could change the current insurance landscape considerably, though likely not in time to affect premiums for the 2018 plan year.

Here are the key pieces:

The order will authorize the creation of association health plans, allowing groups of individuals and small businesses to band together to buy plans on the large group insurance market. Those plans would not be subject to Obamacare restrictions around essential health benefits.

Groups could purchase stripped-down, lower cost plans, which would benefit members who don’t currently need more than catastrophic coverage, but could imperil members if they experience serious health issues.

Critics fear the plans would siphon off many of the younger, healthier customers whose enrollments allow health insurers in the Obamacare marketplaces to keep plan costs for customers with more health issues down.

The association health plans would also be authorized to buy insurance across state lines, a GOP policy goal for many years, and the second key component of the president’s plan. Proponents of the idea believe it will increase competition and bring down costs. Critics say health care costs are too localized for the change to make much difference.

Component three would be authorizing the sale of "short-term" health care plans. These plans generally last less than a year and offer limited benefits. Under Obamacare they were restricted to less than 90 days. The plans would offer consumers in transition between jobs or moving to new locations a leaner, less expensive plan.

Again, critics fear this would divert many young, healthy consumers from the long term insurance marketplace, causing costs for consumers with chronic health needs to skyrocket.

What do you think?

Is the president’s expected executive order the right plan for changing health care costs? Would you benefit from association health plans or short-term plans or not? Would the existence of these plans jeopardize your health care costs? Is it okay for the president to step in and unilaterally make a change that Congress has not been able to achieve, like President Obama did with DACA?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Creative Commons)

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