Trump Signs Executive Order on Health Care

OCTOBER 12, 2017
Matt Hoffman
Trump, ACA, Executive order, HealthcareThe White House announced today that President Donald Trump (pictured) has signed an executive order to allow insurance sales across state lines, something he declared will allow for more choices to consumers while also driving down premiums.

The order, aimed at the Departments of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services, requested regulations be developed to offer exemptions from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) regulations for health plans. The plan saw longtime support from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who joined Trump in a White House ceremony announcing the order.

“The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care,” Trump said in a White House statement.

These changes will not go into effect until they are adopted by the federal agencies involved, and could take months to implement. The order would ultimately more widely open access to less expensive, but less comprehensive, plans.

Specifically, the order is allowing for a “broader interpretation of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) could potentially allow employers in the same line of business anywhere in the country to join together to offer healthcare coverage to their employees” as well as expanding the coverage through short-term and low-cost limited duration insurance (STLDI).

STLDI is not, according to the statement, subject to the mandates of the ACA, and could offer plans that cut the cost of the cheapest ACA plans by one-third.

The order also states that employers participating in Association Health Plans (AHPs) cannot exclude any employee from joining the plan and cannot develop premiums based on conditions. It also opens the door to possibly allow employers to form AHPs through existing organizations or create new ones simply to offer group insurance.
These AHPs could offer the ability for small businesses to band together to buy insurance plans. State officials, however, have noted that an AHP could still set different rates for different employers.

“We’ve been hearing about the disaster of Obamacare for so long. Premiums have skyrocketed. One-third of the counties have only a single insurer on the exchange,” Trump said.

The president called for allowing insurance sales across state lines in the first Republican primary debate in 2016, but it remained unaddressed for some time, and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners have debated this issue now for the past 2 decades.

This year, several attempts to repeal the ACA have failed to get the vote in the Senate, with the Graham-Cassidy bill being the most recent failure. The plan to revoke the act, colloquially known as Obamacare, remains uncertain. 

“The status quo is not delivering quality health care options for the American people, who are facing higher premiums and fewer options,” according to the White House statement.

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