Trump expected to sign order to dilute impact of Obamacare

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President Trump has an executive order in the works for next week, to lift health insurance guidelines mandated under Obama’s Affordable Care Act, after congressional Republicans failed to repeal the law, an administration official said Saturday.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the order is intended to help provide more affordable health care options for middle class Americans squeezed by skyrocketing premiums under Obamacare.

The Journal says the move has the most substance of any made by White House officials on healthcare under the Trump administration to date.

A deal to pass a bipartisan version of an Obamacare repeal bill isn’t out of the question, though Trump told reporters as he traveled to North Carolina that he was willing to cut a short-term deal with Democrats to save the health law from collapsing, but “it’s really up to them. The Affordable Care Act is exploding, like I said it would.”

With the executive order, however, the likelihood of a bipartisan deal goes down. A directive to implement the sale of insurance across state lines, long a Republican healthcare staple, would surely be politically unpalatable to Democrats.

A spokesman for Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.), said he had been pushing the idea with the administration.

“He has been working with President Donald Trump on this proposal for several months, and we believe it will directly result in giving the American people more options to find low-cost and high-quality health care options,” said Sergio Gor, Paul’s spokesman.

But former Obama officials claim it’s just a dressed-up way to push Republicans’ healthcare objectives.

“Its aim is clearly to do with the pen what Congress wouldn’t—eliminate pre-existing condition protections, essential benefit protections and lifetime caps and turn the ACA into a sparsely available high-risk pool,” said Andy Slavitt, who was the Obama administration’s top official at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“It’s being finished now,” Mr. Trump said last month. “It’s going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people. Millions of people.”

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