President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to ease the burden of Obamacare and open up options for health care associations.
Here's President Trump's announcement:
The time has come to take action to IMPROVE access, INCREASE choices, and LOWER COSTS for HEALTHCARE!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2017
How will this change health care?
His order unravels regulations imposed by Obamacare that kept younger, healthier people from buying cheap and less extensive health plans. While this will help those people find cheaper health care options, it will likely raise costs for older and sicker Americans.
That's because Obamacare forced younger, healthier Americans to purchase insurance they didn't want and didn't need at prices that would subsidize that of older and sicker Americans' care.
What about health care associations?
The order tasks the Labor Department to study how health care associations can be implemented to increase competition and lower health insurance costs.
Association health plans, which are usually sponsored by trade organizations or interest groups, already exist. Spurred by the executive order, federal agencies could amend the rules governing these plans so they are no longer subject to state regulation, said health policy experts, speaking before the order was issued. Instead, the nationwide plans may come under the same federal oversight as large-employer policies.
This feature has been championed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and could allow companies or individuals to buy insurance across state lines, depending on how the program is implemented.
Here's Rand Paul praising Trump for the order:
Rand Paul: "President Trump is doing what I believe is the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation." pic.twitter.com/rW1X7GO2f9
— Axios (@axios) October 12, 2017
"President Trump is doing what I believe is the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation," said Paul.
Will this push Obamacare toward collapse?
Yes, it will likely hasten the "death spiral" some say the program is in, by taking away the money being brought in by young people being forced to pay insurance they didn't want.
How have Democrats reacted?
Democrats appear to have adopted the mantra of calling Trump's order "sabotage" of Obamacare, and more broadly, the health care system.
President Trump’s health care executive order may seem a little complicated so let me break it down: It’s sabotage.— Tim Kaine (@Tim Kaine) 1507822336.0
After many failed attempts by Rs to make health care worse/non-existent for millions, Trump decides to sabotage system on his own. Pathetic.— Sheldon Whitehouse (@Sheldon Whitehouse) 1507831631.0
Schumer on Trump: This executive order is just the latest in a series of steps he has taken to sabotage the health care system— Chad Pergram (@Chad Pergram) 1507824194.0
This exec order is #ACA sabotage, plain & simple. Again, Pres Trump shows his top priority is pricing American fami… https://t.co/15E68Ur0EP— Rep. Barbara Lee (@Rep. Barbara Lee) 1507826495.0
As Gov, I’ll ensure all Floridians have access quality affordable health care, no matter what Trump does to sabotage the Affordable Care Act— Chris King (@Chris King) 1507833509.0