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President Donald Trump’s first executive order called a “bomb” by one health care expert

Donald Trump’s first order of business as president was to sign an executive order instructing federal agencies to relieve the “burdens” of the Affordable Care Act. The vague language of the action left many wondering what implications this had for consumers, doctors, hospitals and insurers.

The primary purpose of the order appeared to be the elimination of the insurance mandate, the provision in the ACA that required all Americans to have health insurance or else they suffer a tax penalty. The mandate was written into the law, however, so an executive order cannot exactly repeal that provision. But the law does empower the executive branch to enforce the penalties of the insurance requirement, so the order may have effectively neutered the mandate.

One health care expert who had been monitoring the likely repeal of the ACA told The Washington Post that Trump’s executive order was a “bomb” tossed into the “already shaky” insurance market.

“Instead of sending a signal that there’s going to be an orderly transition, they’ve sent a signal that it’s going to be a disorderly transition,” Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, told The Post. “How does the Trump administration think this is not going to make the situation worse?”

Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner, Teresa Miller, said Saturday that Trump’s action could compel insurers to abandon the market in 2018. “When I saw the executive order . . . all I kept thinking was this just creates more uncertainty and adds more instability to this market,” she said.

Miller admitted insurers already “seriously considered leaving the market last year” in her state, so she did not see how this would help consumers keep their plans.

The executive order could also give states the ability to reassess their Medicaid programs. As Los Angeles Times reporter Noam Levey noted, many Republican governors have sought to require poor adults to seek work while they receive Medicaid benefits.

A Trump ally told The Washington Post on Sunday that the executive order has applied pressure on GOP lawmakers to act faster than they might have initially planned.

Taylor Link is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @taylorlink_

Taylor Link.

Source: Salon: in-depth news, politics, business, technology & culture > Politics

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