Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Global | By Shelia Dennis

New US Healthcare Order to be Signed This Week?

New US Healthcare Order to be Signed This Week?

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order allowing the sale of health insurance plans that are exempt from some Obamacare regulations.

How Thursday's order will impact the insurance and hospital industries will be studied by a commission comprised of federal health officials who will find ways to limit consolidation in the markets and increase competition. the order says.

But opponents say the order will undermine coverage offered to millions enrolled in the ACA, also known as Obamacare, by drawing younger, healthier enrollees into skimpy, cheaper plans. These people, who have greater-than-average need for essential health benefits like hospitalization and mental health care, could instead remain in the protected Obamacare marketplace. Since the Obama administration bulldozed the Affordable Care Act through the House and the Senate, Republicans have centered much of their platform around repealing and replacing the act. Paul, who also criticized Obama on executive orders, was among those present for the signing.

Association health plans allow small-business owners, trade groups and others to purchase health insurance packages collectively. That could mean employers could form groups across state lines, officials said. Previously, these plans were only available to last for three months, but Trump seeks to expand these types of low-priced plans and make them more widely available.

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Mr Trump has directed three cabinet agencies to develop rules that would expand access to less expensive, less comprehensive insurance with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers than those mandated under the ACA.

The third aspect of the order is for the administration to look at options - referred to as health reimbursement arrangements - for employers to use non-taxable income to help workers pay for medical expenses.

Trump said the move will promote health care choice and competition. "This will cost the United States government virtually nothing, and people will have great, great health care".

"Having failed to repeal the #ACA in Congress, @POTUS is using a wrecking ball to singlehandedly rip apart & sabotage our healthcare system", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, tweeted.

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Experts worry that using loopholes to skirt Obamacare rules will destabilize the market for remaining customers.

Faced with gridlock from his own party, the president has turned to executive orders to drive policy and national conversation, raising further debate over the place of health care in such a polarized era.

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.

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