President Trump Immediately Lives Up to a Campaign Promise
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President Donald Trump lived up to a campaign promise and began the process to repeal and replace “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)”, or Obamacare, within hours of becoming president. On Friday night, he signed an executive order to “Minimize the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Pending Repeal.” The executive order requires government agencies to minimize “unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and to prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market."
The ACA gave the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) a lot of power to make decisions on how to implement the law with more than 1,000 directives with the simple phrase: "the Secretary shall ... ."
President Trump, and the new HHS Secretary-designate Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), will be able to use that power to minimize the law’s negative effects as Congress prepares its repeal legislation. As long as the Trump administration remains within the law’s parameters, executive orders and regulations are legal. When the administration changes the law through an administration act, as what occurred under the Obama administration 43 times, it become illegal.
House Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said this about President Trump's actions:
It is heartening to see President Trump take immediate action to begin undoing the damage caused by Obamacare. The American people desperately need relief from this law that is crumbling before our eyes, and the Energy and Commerce Committee stands ready to work alongside the administration to deliver it. In the coming weeks, we will repeal Obamacare and begin rebuilding our broken health care system and cleaning up the mess left behind by the previous administration.”
President Trump also asked his Chief of Staff Reince Priebus to place a freeze on all new or pending regulations so they can be reviewed by the new administration. This is very important as the Obama administration released a large ACA regulation just days before President Obama left office. The January 17 Washington Examiner reported, “The rule, which sets the plans that can be sold on the Affordable Care Act's exchanges in 2018, is common and must be issued to give insurers an idea of what to expect for the coming coverage year. However, the Obama administration implemented the regulation much earlier than years past, and some in the GOP are worried it could complicate the incoming administration's efforts to provide regulatory relief to insurers.”
President Trump’s actions show he is serious about repealing and replacing the ACA and expects all federal agencies with any legal responsibilities for the law to follow this policy change. His actions also assist the Republicans in Congress in its ongoing activities to repeal large parts of the law through the budget reconciliation process.
It is a new day in Washington.