President Trump Issues Executive Order Changing American Healthcare

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Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Photo Credit: MCT Campus

Dorian Uson, Staff Writer

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At the beginning of October, President Donald Trump began to dismantle the Affordable Care Act when he took away the mandate for employers to provide birth control as a part of their company healthcare package.

On Oct. 12, Trump issued a formal Executive Order that would further the process of dismantling and changing the Affordable Care Act. Under this executive order, employers cannot exclude any workers from their plan and cannot charge those with pre-existing health problems more money. The new policy would also allow employers to exempt for not supplying birth control for moral or religious reasons. However, it will take months for the federal bureaucracy to finalize all of the details.

In response to the Executive Order, President Trump said, “We’ve been hearing about the disaster of Obamacare for so long — in my case, many years, most of it outside in civilian life. And for a long period of time since I’ve started running and since I became President of the United States, I just keep hearing “repeal and replace, repeal and replace.” Well, we’re starting that process, and we’re starting it in a very positive manner.”

Trump also stated that with his new healthcare act, competition would be higher, giving American people options for their insurance. “It directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury, and the Department of Labor to take action to increase competition, increase choice, and increase access to lower-priced, high-quality healthcare options. And they will have so many options. This will cost the United States government virtually nothing, and people will have great, great healthcare. And when I say people, I mean by the millions and millions,” said Trump.

The Executive Order would change not only how healthcare is paid for, but how businesses are held responsible for providing their employees with healthcare insurance. According to the White House Website, Section 3 of the order states, “Within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretaries of the Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services shall consider proposing regulations or revising guidance, consistent with law, to expand the availability of STLDI. To the extent permitted by law and supported by sound policy, the Secretaries should consider allowing such insurance to cover longer periods and be renewed by the consumer.” In other words, it stated that in 60 days, the Secretary of Treasury, Labor, and Health and Human Services would review the order and suggest revisions that coincide with short-term limited-duration insurance (STLDI).

   Section 2 of the order stated, “within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Labor shall consider proposing regulations or revising guidance, consistent with law, to expand access to health coverage by allowing more employers to form AHPs. To the extent permitted by law and supported by sound policy, the Secretary should consider expanding the conditions that satisfy the commonality‑of-interest requirements under current Department of Labor advisory opinions interpreting the definition of an “employer” under section 3(5) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974. The Secretary of Labor should also consider ways to promote AHP formation on the basis of common geography or industry.” This section is sated that in 60 days, the order would be revised by the Secretary of Labor which should allow employers to form more Association Health Plans (AHPs).

Association Health Plans are the arrangements employers make to buy healthcare for themselves and their employees. Section 2 would allow the Secretary of Labor, along with the opinions in the Advisory of Labor, to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans, which could allow employers to form groups across state lines offering coverage.

   According to Fox News, “Those “association health plans” could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements. Responding to concerns, the White House said participating employers could not exclude any workers from the plan, or charge more to those in poor health.”

According to CNN, “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. Also, it looks to broaden the ability of employers to give workers money to buy their own coverage through health reimbursement arrangements, known as HRAs.”

The Executive Order was signed due to the lack of consensus among Congress to repeal Obamacare, prompting Trump to take matters into his own hands in hopes of speeding up the process of replacing the ACA.

“The move comes after congressional Republicans repeatedly have been unable to pass legislation repealing or reforming the Affordable Care Act, which critics say has led to rising premiums and diminishing coverage options – in some cases forcing consumers to lose their previous plans and doctors. Trump’s executive order could clear the way for cheaper, more bare-bones insurance policies”, stated Fox News.

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul called the new changes to the healthcare system “the biggest free-market reform of health care in a generation.”

Republican Senator John Barrasso said, “Trump is taking bold action to give patients the freedom and flexibility to choose the healthcare plan that works best for them.”

   Democrats have already started to criticize Trump’s new implementation. According to the Press Democrat, “House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump “knows very little” about health care policy or legislation. She said she was unfamiliar with the details of the executive order, “but I do know it’s a sabotage of the Affordable Care Act.’”

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

 

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