Trump signs executive order changing key parts of health insurance

10/12/2017 02:55 PM

Flanked by U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday making way for major changes with health care insurance in the United States.

In signing the executive order, Trump is acknowledging the inability of the Republican controlled-Congress to take action on dismantling and replacing the Affordable Care Act. The President is changing several provisions within the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, including allowing the sale of cheaper policies across state lines with fewer consumer safeguards, according to the New York Times.

Trump described the order as, “the first steps to providing millions of Americans with Obamacare relief.”

The changes initiated on Thursday will likely take time, and potentially legislative action to accomplish. Trump is asking for new regulations to be put into place by the Labor, Health and Human Services and Treasury Departments in an effort to alter the laws without Congressional approval.

Among the items Trump is asking departments to work on is the ability to expand the sale of health insurance by trade associations to their members, an issue Paul has advocated for extensively in Kentucky.

“Today’s action is one of the most significant free market health care reforms in a generation and is a rare move by Washington to reduce government interference and provide more affordable health care options to everyday Americans,” Paul said in a statement. “I applaud President Trump for following through on this action, which I have been working on with him for several months.”

However, as the New York Times reports “many of the new insurance products could be exempt from requirements of the Affordable Care Act that Republicans say have contributed to sharp increases in premiums but that supporters say have created a baseline of care that has protected consumers from “junk insurance.”

Eventually the association plans could be sold across state lines.

“This will create tremendous competition,” Trump said, which would result in lower health insurances prices.

“Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up, and you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating.”

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, applauded the move from Trump on Thursday.

“Obamacare is failing and people across the country are hurting,” McConnell said. “I am pleased that the administration is looking for new ways to promote more affordable health insurance policies to better meet the needs of working families.”

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Louisville, Kentucky’s lone Democratic federal delegate and ranking member of the House Budget Committee, issued a statement following the signing of the order — saying Trump is jeopardizing the health security of millions of Americans.

“The President’s executive order calls for allowing insurance companies to build a huge market of junk plans, which will return us to the days where American families are one major illness or accident away from bankruptcy,” Yarmuth said. “Under these plans, insurers can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, meaning only people who are currently healthy will buy them.

“The end result will be that costs for everyone else will soar, and ultimately, insurance markets that provide real coverage with real protections will collapse,” he continued. “Welcome to Trumpcare.”

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or nicholas.storm@charter.com.

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