Unable to get a bill through the Congress to overhaul the Obama health law, the White House announced that President Donald Trump would sign an order on Thursday to “promote healthcare choice and competition,” as Mr. Trump is expected to approve plans that would relax rules under Obamacare, allowing for the sale of health insurance policies that don’t cost as much, but cover fewer medical items.
“With Congress the way it is, I decided to take it upon myself,” the President told reporters on Tuesday in the Oval Office, saying his new plan would “go a long way to take care of many of the people who have been so badly hurt on health care.”
“It will be great, great health care, for many, many people,” Mr. Trump added, as he has made clear he was ready to act.
“It will not cost our country anything, but they will have great, great health insurance again,” the President said.
As for the details of what will be proposed, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) says he has been working with Mr. Trump for some time on a proposal that could be done by executive action, as Paul wants to loosen rules on “association” health plans, allowing people to buy policies that don’t have to follow all the coverage requirements under the Obama health law.
Under a bill proposed by Paul several months ago, groups could set up “Independent Health Pools” for the purpose or purchasing insurance – “including churches, alumni associations, trade associations, other civic groups, or entities formed strictly for establishing an IHP.”
Experts also believe the President will look to change rules dealing with short-term health insurance plans, which can also skirt the coverage rules of the Obama health law, allowing for the sale of policies that would not meet the coverage requirements under Obamacare.
“Short-term plans can now only be used for 3 months and you have to pay the individual mandate penalty,” said Larry Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation.
“An executive order might change that,” Levitt wrote on Twitter.
There is also the possibility that the feds could use some of the provisions of the Obama health law to make changes from within as well, as there are 1,442 different places where the Secretary of Health and Human Services is given the discretion to spell out certain details.
Mr. Trump this week also said he would allow people to buy insurance policies across state lines – that is already allowed under the Obama health law. It wasn’t immediately clear how this plan would make that easier, or what would be changed.