By our deadline Friday the world had continued to spin without interruption-planes taking off and landing; men and women commuting home after another week at work-and if you’re reading this then you survived the ObamaCare subsidy apocalypse of 2017. We’re referring to the political meltdown over the Trump Administration’s decision to end extralegal payments to insurers.
. . .
The changes Trump’s executive order envisions would not alter the constraints imposed by the ACA or other federal statutes. They would work within those constraints. These changes would allow many consumers to avoid the ACA exchanges and ObamaCare’s hidden taxes—but then again, so did President Obama when he created “grandmothered” plans. They would make the costs of community rating, essential health benefits, and other hidden taxes more transparent—but so did “grandmothered” plans, as well as the steps President Obama took with Congress to increase premium-assistance-tax-credit clawbacks and to limit risk-corridor subsidies.
. . .
President Donald Trump plans to end a key set of Obamacare subsidies that helped lower-income enrollees pay for health care, the White House said Thursday, a dramatic move that raises questions about the law’s future.
President Trump’s executive order directs federal agencies to write new rules that would allow consumers to buy less regulated, less expensive health insurance plans. The agencies will take months to enact new regulations and after that it’s unclear when consumers should expect premium relief. But this could be a game changer for those seeking more insurance options than have been permitted under ObamaCare.
President Trump is wielding his rule-making power to get closer to his goal of repealing and replacing Obamacare. His executive order issued Thursday broadly tasks the administration with developing policies to increase health care competition and choice in order to improve the quality of health care and lower prices. The order, President Trump said, would give “millions of Americans with Obamacare relief.”
. . .
One piece of this week’s order directs the Labor Department to “consider expanding access” to Association Health Plans, which would allow small businesses to team up to offer insurance. The order also seeks to expand the flexibility and use of health reimbursement arrangements, giving employees more flexibility in how they spend the pretax dollars in their accounts, including paying insurance premiums. A third part of the order directs cabinet agencies to consider new rules on allowing short-term insurance plans for up to a year to cover periods between more stable coverage (from the three months allowed Obama administration rules).
. . .
President Trump will sign an executive order on Thursday morning aimed at taking action on health care after Congress’s failure to repeal ObamaCare.
Congressional Republicans have failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, but some of them aren’t ready to stop campaigning on that promise. “I don’t see any problem with talking about repeal and replace. We still want to do it. It’s not over,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch said.
. . .
The Trump administration is poised to roll back the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, vastly expanding exemptions for those that cite moral or religious objections.
The new rules, which could be issued as soon as Friday, fulfill a campaign promise by President Trump and are sure to touch off a round of lawsuits on the issue.
More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage mandate, according to a study commissioned by the Obama administration. Under the new regulations, hundreds of thousands of women could lose birth control benefits they now receive at no cost under the Affordable Care Act.
. . .
Full-scale repeal of Obamacare has failed, at least for now. But there are still components of the law that can, and should, be rolled back immediately. The Independent Payment Advisory Board is a prime example.
Obamacare created the board of 15 unelected, presidentially-appointed bureaucrats to keep Medicare’s costs under control. If entitlement spending growth surpasses a specific target (currently, aggregate GDP growth plus 1 percent) the board must recommend Medicare cuts.
. . .