President Donald Trump signed his big health care executive order today, aimed at dismantling the Affordable Care Act. White House officials said over time, the policies flowing from the president's order will give consumers more options.
However, it could also destabilize Obamacare by siphoning out younger and healthier Americans from the exchanges.
After speaking, Trump almost left the room without actually signing the order, and turned around once reminded by Pence. "They will get great competitive health care and it will cost the United States nothing", he said. "And when I say people, I mean by the millions and millions".
Democrats are bracing for another effort by Trump to dismantle "Obamacare", this time with the rule-making powers of the executive branch.
Specifically, the President is directing the Labor Department to study how to make it easier for small businesses, and possibly individuals, to join together and buy health insurance through nationwide association health plans, a senior administration official said Thursday.
Separately, the order would allow consumers to buy short-term policies, which don't have to comply with Obamacare's protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
-Allowing employers to set aside pre-tax dollars so workers can use the money to buy an individual health policy.
But the changes Trump hopes to bring about could take months or even longer. They say it would raise costs for the sick, while the lower-premium coverage for healthy people would come with significant gaps.
The order resulted from Trump's frustration with his inability to persuade a Republican-controlled Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a pillar of President Barack Obama's legacy.
President Trump signed an executive order Thursday that could radically transform Obamacare and the American health care system in general, all without having to go through Congress.
"They will be able to buy across state lines".
The order comes after Congress has repeatedly failed to repeal the law. The plan has drawn backing from legislators like Sen. Republican Senator Rand Paul advocated for this solution when the discussions for the replacement of the Obamacare was discussed.
Exactly how the agencies would change current regulations remains to be seen.
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.
Instead, the Obama administration said, the government would look at the size of each business participating in the association, so that many small employers would still be subject to stringent federal rules.
These plans do not have to adhere to all of Obamacare's provisions, such as the requirement to provide comprehensive policies that cover prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse, according to Kevin Lucia, project director at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute. The Obama administration said that coverage offered to dozens or hundreds of small businesses through a trade or professional association would not be treated as a single large employer health plan for the objective of insurance regulation.
A White House official said that "employers participating in an association health plan can not exclude any employee from joining the plan and can not develop premiums based on health conditions" of individual employees.