Frustrated by health care failures in Congress, President Donald Trump directed his administration Thursday to rewrite some federal insurance rules as a beginning of renewed efforts to undermine “Obamacare,” the program he’s promised to kill.
“With these actions, we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the health care market,” Trump said before signing his directive in the Oval Office. Trump said he will continue to pressure Congress to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Some experts said the White House plan could undermine coverage on the ACA’s insurance marketplaces, particularly for people with health problems. That would happen if healthy people flock to lower-cost plans with limited benefits.
Other experts said Trump’s proposals appear to be modest and would have limited impact.
The steps the president outlined Thursday will take months for the federal bureaucracy to finalize in regulations. Experts said consumers should not expect changes for next year.
One of the main ideas from the administration involves easing the way for groups and associations of employers to sponsor coverage that can be marketed across the land. That reflects Trump’s longstanding belief that interstate competition will lead to lower premiums for consumers who buy their own health insurance policies, as well as for small businesses.
Those “association health plans” could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements. But responding to concerns, the White House said participating employers could not exclude any workers from the plan, or charge more to those in poor health.
Other elements of the White House plan include:
“Easing current restrictions on short-term policies that last less than a year, an option for people making a life transition, from recent college graduates to early retirees. Those policies are not subject to current federal and state rules that require standard benefits and…