By Zero Hedge
As first previewed over the weekend, tomorrow at 11:15am, President Trump will sign an executive order aimed at taking action on health care, or as the White House put it, “to promote health care choice and competition”, after Congress’s failure to repeal ObamaCare. The order – which is expected to further weaken Obamacare – should, in theory, ease rules on small businesses banding together to buy health insurance, through what are known as association health plans, and lift Obama administration limits on short-term health insurance plans, according to a source on a call with administration officials Wednesday night.
According to The Hill’s sources, the order will direct the Department of Labor to “modernize” rules to allow small employers to create association health plans. Small businesses will be able to band together if they are within the same state, in the same “line of business,” or are in the same trade association.
Needless to say, this latest attempt to dismantle Obamacare did not make the likes of Andy Slavitt, who ran Medicare, Madicaid and Obamacare under Obama, happy, and he took to twitter to make it clear:
Slavitt’s slamming aside, it does not appear that the order will go as far as some Democrats feared, though: liberals are worried that the order will undermine the stability of ObamaCare markets because healthy people will be attracted to the cheaper, new association health plans, which do not have the same protections, leaving only sicker people remaining in ObamaCare plans. However, according to The Hill, it does not seem that individuals will be eligible to join the association health plans, which would be a more sweeping move.
The source said administration officials did not mention individuals joining the association health plans, only referring to small businesses being able to join.
That would steer the changes clear of disrupting the individual market, which is the core of ObamaCare.
Still, the order will lift Obama administration limits on short-term health insurance plans, allowing the plans to last as long as 12 months and be renewed. The change to short-term health insurance could damage the stability of ObamaCare. The fear from Democrats is that healthier people will migrate to cheaper, short-term plans, leaving only sicker people in ObamaCare plans and driving up premiums.
The source said the new rules for short-term plans are where administration officials think the order will have the “most immediate impact.”
The order will also allow people to use tax-advantaged accounts known as Health Reimbursement Accounts to pay for their premiums.
Meanwhile, as democrats scream bloody murder around 11am tomorrow when Trump is signing the EO, one person will be delighted: Sen. Rand Paul has been pushing for this order for months, arguing that allowing small businesses to band together to buy insurance gives them leverage to lower premiums. Paul is expected to be in attendance at the unveiling at the White House on Thursday.
Categories: U.S. News