Trump Signs Executive Order To Begin Unwinding Obamacare
“The policies outlined in the executive order are the beginning of the actions the administration will take to provide relief to people harmed by Obamacare,” said Andrew Bremberg, director of the administration’s domestic policy council, on a call with reporters earlier Thursday. “You should expect additional actions coming from the administration in months to come.”
Critics however warned that the order could undermine the stability of ObamaCare markets by opening up skimpier, cheaper plans that would divert healthy people away from ObamaCare plans. They also warn that the policies outlined in the order will end up pulling healthier people out of Obamacare’s existing markets, which have strict requirements on what services have to be covered, such as maternity or mental health coverage. The result would be fewer people in the Affordable Care Act’s markets, and the ones who remained could be sicker - driving up premiums, and forcing more people to look elsewhere for coverage.
Democrats warn that the order is part of Trump’s larger plan to “sabotage” the health law and accomplish on his own what Congress could not; democrats have already been crying foul about administration cutbacks to outreach about the coming ObamaCare enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1, including a 90 percent cut to the advertising budget.
"Having failed to repeal the law in Congress, the president is sabotaging the system, using a wrecking ball to singlehandedly rip apart our health care system," Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) said in a statement. "If the system deteriorates, make no mistake about it, the blame will fall squarely on the president's back," he added.
Which, of course, is convenient for Obama's signature legacy law, which was already sending premiums soaring over the past few years: now that Trump is doing what he can to undo Obamacare, he will become the scapegoat for everything that was wrong with the law in the first place. The bottom line is simple: if premiums continue rising - which they likely will - it will be Trump's fault now.
By boosting alternative insurance arrangements that would be exempt from some key ACA rules, the change would provide more options for consumers. But health-insurance experts say it could raise costs for sicker people by drawing healthier, younger consumers to these alternative plans, which could be less expensive and offer fewer benefits.