WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The President begins to re-write Obamacare on his own, and this time, he doesn’t need buy-in from lawmakers.
President Donald Trump today directed members of his cabinet to loosen rules regulating how insurance is sold. “This will be great health care,” he said as he signed the executive order to that effect.
It’s not repeal and replace, but it’s exactly what Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asked for months ago. “The president’s been very receptive and I think he was bold to take this move today,” said Paul.
Paul opposed the White House’s last effort to reform health care, questioning its ability to provide savings and calling it politically petty. This plan would allow small businesses – even those in different states -- to band together and buy coverage as a group.
Paul said competition between insurers cuts cost, noting that large businesses already can take advantage of the looser rules the President hopes to offer small companies. “I’m trying to let the little guy get the same insurance you do if you work at Toyota, or Ford, or General Motors,” he said.
“The president and Sen. Paul sell the move as meaning cheaper coverage for Americans, Democrats on the Hill aren’t buying it.
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) said his opposition is two-fold. His first is in principle. Welch said Congress should work on reform in a bi-partisan way. His second objection is to the proposed changes.
The rules groups could avoid by buying together could also allow them to get around quality standards and requirements to cover services like contraception. If people opt into what Welch calls junk plans – the cost of comprehensive coverage could increase.
“This could hurt people who are paying for bad coverage -- it’s not there when they need it,” he said, “and it could hurt people who are paying for good coverage – because their premiums will go up.”
The Trump order won’t directly impact your care soon, rules will take time to write, and can’t take effect before you buy coverage for 2018.