President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to start loosening some rules associated with Obamacare after the Republican controlled Congress failed many times to repeal the healthcare law. From Fox News:

According to officials, Trump will direct the secretary of labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans, which could allow employers to form groups across state lines offering coverage. According to the White House, these plans could offer lower rates.

Those “association health plans” could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements. 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.

The order also calls on other federal agencies to consider expanding coverage in low-cost, short-term insurance plans not subject to ObamaCare rules.

Trump said:

“The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care,” Trump said in a statement.

So overall, this executive order “does not make changes itself; rather it directs agencies to issue new regulations or guidance.” Officials said all of this could take months. The agencies and the secretaries will have to report to Trump in 180 days “about any changes that could be made, at the state or the federal level, to increase choices for consumers.”

This means that the executive order will not affect Obamacare open enrollment that starts on November 1.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who voted no on the times Congress tried to repeal Obamacare, stood behind Trump as he signed the order. In an op-ed at Breitbart, Paul explained why he chose to support this EO:

How will it work? Well, nationwide associations like the National Restaurant Association will be allowed to form groups across state lines and, with the leverage of size, demand Big Insurance bring down their outrageous premiums.

Many of the 28 million people left behind by Obamacare who still don’t have insurance work low-wage jobs in our fast food restaurants. The President’s decision today will allow workers from two million restaurants to come together to form a buying group and through sheer size get cheaper and better insurance.

Millions of people will be eligible for the same group insurance that big corporations offer. In fact, Health Associations may grow to be larger than the largest of our corporations. Currently, about half of private insurance is cross-state, self-insured ERISA plans, and most employees love them. The President’s action today will allow the millions of people in the individual market an escape route to group insurance.

Association Health Plans will be among the biggest free-market reforms of health care in a generation, and it will do more to counter the impact of Obamacare than most of the repeal bills did, because it will actually go after regulations that the legislation didn’t touch due to Senate rules.

The critics believe that these options will attract too many healthy younger people, leaving Obamacare with the sicker and older crowd. But we have seen people already fleeing the Obamacare market after premiums have skyrocketed. Numerous insurance companies have dropped many Obamacare options due to high costs and not enough profits to keep offering its services.


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