President Donald Trump said he plans to use the "power of the pen" to repeal and replace Obamacare, and on Thursday afternoon, he did just that.
Trump took to Twitter on Oct. 10 to blast Congress for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act and announced that he will now take action on his own, The New York Times reported.
"Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people - FAST," the president tweeted.
Trump signed an executive order “to promote health care choice and competition” on Thursday Oct. 12 at a White House event attended by small-business owners and others.
But Democrats and state regulators warn that Trump's plan to relax standards for so-called association health plans would create low-cost insurance options for the healthy and drive up costs for the sick. They called the president's plan yet another attempt to undermine former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, and warned it would destabilize insurance marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act.
“It would have a very negative impact on the markets,” Mike Kreidler, the insurance commissioner in Washington State, told The New York Times. “Our state is a poster child of what can go wrong. Association health plans often shun the bad risks and stay with the good risks.”
Other concerns are that the Trump administration intends to loosen restrictions on short-term health insurance plans that do not satisfy the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
“By siphoning off healthy individuals, these junk plans could cannibalize the insurance exchanges,” explained Topher Spiro, a vice president of the Center for American Progress. “For older, sicker people left behind in plans regulated under the Affordable Care Act, premiums could increase.”
But small business groups believe the executive order will offer an opportunity to bring their members together to sell large-group insurance policies that are both cheap and attractive. President of the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors Dirk Van Dongen said he was pleased with Trump's initiative, adding that his group would seriously consider creating an association health plan.
“Small to midsize businesses have very little leverage in the insurance market,” Van Dongen said. “Anything that allows them to amalgamate their purchasing power will be helpful.”
Meanwhile, Trump took to Twitter on Oct. 12 to give his followers an update on Puerto Rico.
"'Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making.' says Sharyl Attkisson. A total lack of accountability say the Governor," the president tweeted. "Electric and all infrastructure was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend. We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!"