What You Need to Know About the Anti-Obamacare Executive Order

Not content to allow religious entities to opt out of the no co-pay birth control mandate, President Donald Trump has taken a second swing at unraveling the protections in the Affordable Care Act — this time, by executive order. With Congress repeatedly unable to pass any sort of repeal-and-replace — or even just repeal — bill due to fracturing GOP majorities, the president has grabbed a pen to sign away more elements of Obamacare.

Although the order itself isn’t totally clear — and much of it will be under review by the Department of Labor — we do have some idea of what the president hopes to change. Here’s what you need to know about the latest GOP health care assault:

1. It will allow “skinny” plans.

Republicans have long bemoaned the mandate that all insurance plans contain basic care elements — such as birth control, prenatal care, yearly wellness checks, mental health coverage, addiction treatment and more.

Now they are finally getting their wish as the president’s order will allow so-called “skinny” plans — those that lack requirements for many health care services — to be purchased and used to meet the “all Americans must have health insurance” requirement. The ability to purchase low benefits plans is expected to appeal especially to the young and healthy, who help support the insurance pool for those who are older or sicker.

2. Short-term insurance will be available for longer periods.

Like “skinny plans,” short-term insurance — think COBRA — was a means to keep a person insured during short periods between jobs or life events by offering plans with little benefits for a moderate fee. This program helps people avoid a coverage gap — which prior to Obamacare could make you uninsurable in the future — but made most health care requires out-of-pocket expenses with massively high deductibles.

Obamacare limited the use of these plans to just three months, but the executive order will lengthen that period or make it renewable, allowing another way to access these catastrophe insurance plans with nearly no coverage.

3. You may be able to get insurance across state lines.

If the Labor Department approves, there will be an allowance for small businesses to band together and create their own group policies — and then locate those policies in one state, even if not everyone lives there.

“The order will direct the Labor Department to ‘consider expanding access to Association Health Plans’ for American businesses, so companies can easier band together to offer health coverage. The order contemplates AHPs being formed across state lines,” CNBC reports. “However, it is not clear if the Labor Department will end up allowing people who are not employed by companies in such AHPs to get health insurance coverage through them.”

The assumption is that the plans would be purchased from whichever state offers the lowest rates, regardless of what actually gets covered — and that could potentially drive down coverage — and up out-of-pocket expenses — for everyone.

4. Employers may stop subsidizing any plans at all.

The rules would also encourage companies that do offer insurance to stop paying any portion of the plans themselves, and instead put the money into accounts for their employees to use.

“The order also directs federal agencies to expand use of ‘Health Reimbursement Arrangements,’ which are employer-funded, tax-advantaged accounts used to help workers pay for health-care costs,” Bloomberg reports. The switch would likely be small increase in take home pay for employees that would be more than canceled out if they chose regular, full-benefit insurance plans for themselves and their families.

Association health plans were more common before Obamacare. Christopher Condeluci, a former Senate Republican aide who now runs his own law and consulting firm, explained the plans “came crashing down” after a 2011 rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that said small employers could no longer band together in large groups to buy coverage.

5. It would likely destroy Obamacare all together, as it implodes under its own coverage costs.

“Skeptical health policy experts warned the changes will spur the emergence of a deregulated health insurance system that competes for the same customers as the Obamacare markets, creating a potentially destabilizing result: Young and healthy enrollees would flock to the skimpy but cheap plans sold by associations and short-term insurance specialists, leaving behind the nation’s sickest patients in the increasingly expensive and untenable Obamacare markets,” reports Politico. “‘No one healthy is now going to sign up in the [Affordable Care Act] risk pool, because they have this cheaper option,’ said Deep Banerjee, a health care analyst at S&P Global Ratings. “‘It just takes away the opportunity of this risk pool getting better.’”

6. But it shouldn’t have any immediate impact.

Because the president is ordering federal review, there should not be any time for new plans to be approved or launched before the end of this year’s open enrollment period.

Next year? Well, that could be a very different story.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

57 comments

Kathryn I
Kathryn I1 months ago

If it's "anti-Obama," that tells me all I want to know! Thanks!

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Deborah W
Deborah W1 months ago

Not content to allow religious entities to opt out of the no co-pay birth control mandate, President Donald Trump has taken a second swing at unraveling the protections in the Affordable Care Act — this time, by executive order. YOU MEAN HE SAME TACTIC USED IN THE PAST BY BO TO PASS THE DAMN THING IN THE FIRST PLACE?. Although the ORDER ITSELF isn’t TOTALLY clear — and WILL BE UNDER REVIEW by the Department of Labor, as it should be to finalization — once again Robin Marty has shared her expert speculative fodder ... WE (who follow the script assigned for spin by all entities on this week's mission for the promotion of fear, anxiety and hate). Next year WILL be a very different story ....

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Ellie M
Ellie M1 months ago

ty

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Carole R
Carole R1 months ago

Thanks for posting.

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Colin C
Colin C1 months ago

Thanks for the information

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 months ago

david f your story has changed from your original crap post.
putin knows everything that went on and YOU know it. Do I think he was involved / responsible/ complicit ? You bet david and if you would get your head out of where the sun doesn't shine and actually FOLLOW what's happening .
stay healthy david.and try reading or changing channels

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Carl R
Carl R1 months ago

thanks!!!!

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David F
David F1 months ago

Rhoberta, so you still believe Trump was telling Putin the hack into the FBI evidence room and recover the 30,000 emails that the FBI say have been intentionally scrubbed. LOL.

Richard A. Buying across state lines? Yep, if you were a major corporation or a Union.
Otherwise, the big insurance companies has their state monopoly and are against it.

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Richard A
Richard A1 months ago

Number 3, allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines has already been allowed by Obamacare, so this fits in, consistently, with being another of the minority-elected president's lies.

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Rhoberta E
Rhoberta E1 months ago

david f
The ONLY fake thing here is YOU and trump.
I have come to the conclusion that you can't read OR listen and it makes you look even more ridiculous on C2. How does it feel to be a laughing stock? (Sad as your comments usually are)

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