- Hours after being sworn in as the nation’s 45th president, Donald Trump signed an executive order empowering federal agencies to undo Affordable Care Act regulations, the Washington Post reports. The executive order essentially grants relief to all stakeholders affected by the ACA, including insurers, consumers, doctors, hospitals, states and pharmaceutical companies, among others.
- The move is symbolic of Trump’s campaign promise to repeal the ACA. The Post says the executive order doesn’t specifically identify measures being eliminated or weakened, but one likely includes the individual mandate requiring a tax on the uninsured.
- The Post says the order also sets up the Department of Health and Human Services to start gutting ACA regulations that mandate what kind of medical benefits insurers should offer in their plans.
President Trump undoubtedly seeks the ACA’s repeal to be one of his first official acts in the Oval Office. House and Senate Republicans last week already approved a resolution to begin repeal proceedings. And as many experts foretold, Trump is using the same tactic Obama used to put the ACA into place in order to begin its breakdown.
But, as the Post points out, laws aren’t dismissed with a presidential pen stroke. New rules are required to undo or reform old ones. The order falls more into the category of guidance rather than a mandate. Also, the ACA’s measures are embedded in the legislation, which makes eliminating them individually more difficult.
How the Republican replacement plan will directly affect employers and their compliance burden is not yet clear, but the employer mandate and (for small businesses) the 10 essential health benefits rule all seem likely to be on the chopping block. Stay tuned.