Useful Reading on Trump’s Executive Actions on Healthcare

Trump did more to reform healthcare last week than the GOP Congress has done all year. Given the much broader power and authority the Congress has, that’s a bittersweet reminder of wasted opportunity by Congress.  Sigh…Trump’s two healthcare related executive orders don’t invalidate Obamacare, but they do expand some loopholes outside it.

Avik Roy in Forbes gave a pretty good summary of both executive orders in: Sorry Everybody, But Trump Hasn’t Instigated the Obamacare Apocalypse.

“On Thursday, President Trump issued an executive order covering three areas: (1) allowing small businesses to pool together to purchase health insurance; (2) restoring the ability of individuals to buy short-term plans exempt from some Obamacare rules; and (3) examining ways to make employer-funded health savings accounts more flexible. On Friday, the President announced that he would no longer be disbursing the cost-sharing subsidies… until Congress appropriates the funds for them.”

There seems to be more actual reform in that first executive order than in any of the GOP healthcare reform plans.  Short term plan lengths have gone from being valid for 3 months to a full year, going back to rules that existed in…2016.  Yes it was an Obama executive decision to shorten the length they could be offered, no doubt to push more people on to the exchanges.

The other executive order, to suspend payments to health insurance companies to cover low income premiums and deductibles, has resulted in much weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth, but Trump was merely going along with a US District Court decision from last year that ruled the payments were improperly funded without appropriations from Congress.  Reason Magazine’s take, By Cutting Off Obamacare’s Insurer Subsidies, Trump Might Help More People Get Health Coverage, has a counter-intuitive view that the cutting off subsidies, contrary to Democratic spin, won’t make much difference to poor people covered under Obamacare since the coverage is mandated anyway, and any increase in premium costs are covered by the Obamacare purchase subsidy.

So I recommend both articles.  You’ll end up knowing more about these healthcare changes than any commentator on MSNBC!

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