President Trump Signs Executive Order on Affordable Care Act 

Question: What is the impact of President Trump’s Executive Order on the Affordable Care Act?
Answer: President Trump issued an executive order directing members of his administration to take steps that will facilitate the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The Executive Order, in and of itself, is simply a means for the president to exercise the authority that has already been delegated to the executive branch. Trump’s Executive Order reiterates that it is administration policy to seek the repeal and replacement of the ACA and directs relevant agencies — Health and Human Services, Treasury, etc. — to use their authorities under the act “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.”

Section 2 of the order instructs the secretary of HHS to “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” parts of the law that would place a fiscal burden on states, individuals or health-care providers. Most of the provisions in the ACA, however, cannot be changed by the HHS secretary or the president; they require action from Congress or a lengthy period involving public comment. The HHS does have some flexibility in the ACA, such as eliminating the individual mandate that requires most people to have health insurance or face a tax penalty. If confirmed, Rep. Tom Price will lead the HHS and could grant blanket exemptions to everyone. Such an act would create chaos in the insurance marketplaces created by the ACA that predominantly cover people without employer-sponsored coverage. Some industry experts fear that without an individual mandate, younger, healthier people will very likely leave the marketplace, wreaking havoc within insurance plans and sending premiums rocketing up for those left behind.

While the Executive Order has not immediate impact, it is a clear signal from the administration that the ACA’s days appear to be numbered.

Weekly Charting Tip:

NY now requires a 3 hour approved program for physicians regarding pain management, palliative care and addiction. Do NOT forget to obtain these CMEs!

 Larry Kobak, Esq. 


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