President Donald Trump signed an Executive order 12th of October 2017. This is expected to repeal the earlier Obamacare to some extent but not change the main health laws. Mr. Trump spoke at the signing ceremony in presence of administration officials, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky and other key persons in the White House Roosevelt Room.
Mr. Trump said, “And for a long period of time since I’ve started running and since I became president of the United States, I just keep hearing ‘repeal and replace, repeal and replace.’ Well, we’re starting that process, and we’re starting it in a very positive manner.”
The outline of what is known about this new order is as follows. The Affordable Care Act and its basic principles are to remain the same. The executive order would mean raised insurance premiums for certain people and lower premiums for some. This could lead to some insurers to remove themselves from the market in the long run, speculate experts. Obamacare insurance provided enough subsidies to help middle-income people buy them. There were several provisions that helped the poor come under the Medicaid umbrella. The executive order would change some rules for the insurers but the laws that allowed health insurance to most of the population still remain. So as of now no laws have changed.
The executive order has requested three federal agencies to work on development of new regulations that could help achieve certain goals. There would be a period of public comment and new regulations may take some time to come into effect.
Insurance customers who are insured from their work would not face too many changes say experts. However this order might simplify the process of getting pretax money from the employers if an employee wants to buy their own insurance. Till now, the small businesses usually pooled in together to buy coverage that are provided by large companies. These associations and insurance rules might change under this new order. For individuals buying their own insurance, the new order might expand a short term plan of insurance for those who are between two jobs.
More individuals may opt for these cheaper alternatives compared to Obamacare options. However these short term plans are tricky as they can reject or raise premiums for customers who have pre-existing ailments and health problems. Under current regulations, these plans are really short term – lasting for around three months at a time. This new order may extend them to cover for a year. Experts say that if more individuals opt for these short term plans, there would be less number of Americans on the Obamacare markets. These would be those people who have a more comprehensive coverage for lesser premiums. This may lead to higher premiums for higher-income customers who choose to buy Obamacare insurance.
Those who receive government subsidies to buy Obamacare insurance would not feel a change because their premiums would remain unaltered. On the flip side, they would have lesser number of options in future and for them the Obamacare market might be less attractive in future.
Health organizations are not too happy with the proposed changes though. Eighteen different health organizations have warned that the executive order may weaken the current protections offered to patients and also destabilize the insurance market. A statement signed by 18 health groups, including the American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association and United Way Worldwide says, “This order has the potential to price millions of people with pre-existing conditions and serious illnesses out of the individual insurance market and put millions more at risk through the sale of insurance plans that won’t cover all the services patients want to stay healthy or the critical care they need when they get sick.” American Medical Association (AMA) and the American Hospital Association too is not too happy with this order.