Benefits Insights, Spring 2017
Shortly after being sworn in on January 20th, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order aimed at minimizing the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as an interim step while it is pending repeal. The order does not eliminate the law but rather directs federal agencies to grant waivers, exemptions, and delays of provisions in the ACA. The anticipated repeal-and-replace attempt was not successful so the impact of this presidential action remains unclear.
The order states that its intent is to “ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.”
Also, the Order directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and all other executive departments and agencies to defer, waive, grant exemptions from, or delay implementation of the law when legally permitted, so it doesn’t burden individuals, families, states, health care providers, and insurers. Additionally, its goal is to achieve and preserve maximum options for consumers and patients by offering healthcare services and health insurance in interstate commerce by encouraging free and open markets. For now, given the failed repeal-and-replace attempt, departments like the HHS and Treasury will have to develop and issue policies that embody the new president’s order. However, until it becomes clear what steps federal agencies take as a result, its full impact on ACA is unclear.
The order may be seen at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/2/executive-order-minimizing-economic-burden-patient-protection-and.