Call­ing it a be­gin­ning, Trump signs health care or­der

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS - By Ri­cardo Alonso-Zal­divar

WASH­ING­TON » Frus­trated by health care fail­ures in Congress, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump di­rected his ad­min­is­tra­tion Thurs­day to re­write some fed­eral in­sur­ance rules as a be­gin­ning of re­newed ef­forts to un­der­mine “Obamacare,” the pro­gram he’s promised to kill.

“With these ac­tions, we are mov­ing to­ward lower costs and more op­tions in the health care mar­ket,” Trump said be­fore sign­ing his di­rec­tive in the Oval Of­fice. Trump said he will con­tinue to pres­sure Congress to re­peal and re­place for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s Af­ford­able Care Act.

Some ex­perts said the White House plan could un­der­mine cov­er­age on the ACA’s in­sur­ance mar­ket­places, par­tic­u­larly for peo­ple with health prob­lems. That would hap­pen if healthy peo­ple flock to lower-cost plans with lim­ited ben­e­fits.

Other ex­perts said Trump’s pro­pos­als ap­pear to be mod­est and would have lim­ited im­pact.

The steps the pres­i­dent out­lined Thurs­day will take months for the fed­eral bu­reau­cracy to fi­nal­ize in reg­u­la­tions. Ex­perts said con­sumers should not ex­pect changes for next year.

One of the main ideas from the ad­min­is­tra­tion in­volves eas­ing the way for groups and as­so­ci­a­tions of em­ploy­ers to spon­sor cov­er­age that can be mar­keted across the land. That re­flects Trump’s long­stand­ing be­lief that in­ter­state com­pe­ti­tion will lead to lower pre­mi­ums for con­sumers who buy their own health in­sur­ance poli­cies, as well as for small busi­nesses.

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.

EVAN VUCCI - THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump shows an ex­ec­u­tive or­der on health care that he signed in the Roo­sevelt Room of the White House, Thurs­day, in Wash­ing­ton.

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