ibusinesslines.com March 19, 2018

Trump says likely to sign new healthcare order this week

12 October 2017, 07:54 | Erica Roy

Evan Vucci AP

Evan Vucci  AP

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday to weaken the Obamacare law and make it easier for Americans to buy bare-bones health insurance plans, but the action faces possible legal challenges.

"President Trump is doing what I believe is the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation", Paul, who attended Thursday's signing ceremony at the White House, said. However, after Trump finished his remarks, he apparently forgot that he actually had to sign the order at his executive order signing, and made for the door. During an impromptu news conference, Trump told reporters he was looking to meet with Democrats and "see if I can get a health plan that is better still".

Trump has suggested before that he was eying an executive order that would allow individuals to purchase insurance across state lines through so-called health associations, which Republican Senator Rand Paul has advocated.

"To aggressively pursue association health plans is very much an attempt to undermine the markets in the Affordable Care Act", Ginsberg said.

"If you leave the sicker people on the exchanges, then premiums will rise more, and it gets you back to the possibility of a death spiral", said Alice Rivlin, a health policy expert with Brookings Institution. "They will get great competitive health care and it will cost the United States nothing", he said. But 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. White House officials said over time, the policies flowing from the president's order will give consumers more options.

The President's action also looks to expand the use of short-term insurance plans. And the White House said that such insurance "is not subject to costly Obamacare mandates and rules".

Trump took to Twitter on October 10 to blast Congress for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act and announced that he will now take action on his own, the New York Times reported.

"In 2018", it said, "more than 1,500 counties - almost 50 percent of all counties - are projected to have only one option on their individual insurance exchanges". The Post's Amy Goldstein reports the order will allow small businesses to form an association negotiate health benefits, called association health plans. These include the National Federation of Independent Business, the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors and the National Restaurant Association. This was the law that created these health association insurance plans outside of federal and state regulations.

Association health plans "cherry-pick health groups", making it more hard for less healthy groups to find affordable coverage, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners told Congress this year. The department could give employers in the same industries more flexibility to offer group coverage across state lines, providing them with a broader range of policies at lower rates. Instead, the nationwide plans would be subject to the same federal oversight as large-employer policies. But association health plan policies would likely provide skimpier coverage since they would not have to adhere to all of Obamacare's protections. Also, they usually offer less comprehensive coverage. If a business has enough employees that require expensive health care, premiums for everyone in that workplace could be jacked up.

The Obama administration limited these plans' coverage to 90 days.

But they are generally exempt from the requirements to provide a specified package of benefits and to cover a certain percentage of the cost of covered services.

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