On Thursday morning, President Trump signed an executive order to “save the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare” by gutting some of the rules of the Affordable Care Act.
Under the Trump healthcare executive order, small businesses — and possibly individuals — can band together for form associations that make it easier for them to go across state lines to purchase cheaper healthcare plans exempt from Obamacare requirements that all health plans must cover essential health benefits, including prescription drugs, mental health treatment, maternity care and addiction treatment.
The new rules — that come just days after Trump changed another Obamacare mandate requiring companies to pay for birth control — will “create tremendous competition” among insurance providers to drive down premium costs, creating a marketplace where insurance companies will be “begging for your business,” he said.
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Average premiums for insurance plans under Obamacare average $378 a month, according to eHealth, an insurance marketplace. That’s an average increase of 18 percent from 2016.
The executive order also directs the Departments of Health and Human services, Labor and the Treasury to “increase choice and access to lower-cost and higher quality healthcare options,” Trump said during press conference announcing the order. This includes expanding access to short-term healthcare plans that are exempt from Obamacare’s mandated coverage.
Trump healthcare executive order won’t happen right away
The executive order won’t take effect for several months, according to some estimates — and there will likely be legal challenges — so current insurance rules will stay put for the time being. Critics say the new rules will actually create more problems because it takes away state oversight on insurance plans, allowing them to provide skimpier coverage.
The ruling could also drive up premiums for sick people left in the Obamacare exchange.
“President Trump’s healthcare executive order may seem a little complicated so let me break it down: It’s sabotage,” Senator Tim Kaine of Michigan wrote on Twitter before the press conference.
“It would allow cheap low-quality plans onto the market that could discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, seniors, women,” the former vice presidential candidate added. “It aims to push healthy people onto junk plans, leaving only the sick or at-risk on ACA plans — essentially destroying the insurance market.”
“What’s the end product? Families could pay even higher premiums to get care. More discrimination of those who need care most,” Kaine added.