WITHIN hours of taking the oath of office, President Donald Trump on Friday night signed an executive order aimed at trying to fulfill one of his most impassioned campaign promises: Rolling back Obamacare.
The multi-part executive order stated that the administration’s official policy is “to seek the prompt repeal” of the Affordable Care Act — but at the same time emphasized that it must continue to uphold the law.
How Trump could use his executive power on Obamacare.
With his signature, Trump sent a powerful signal on Day One of his presidency: His top priority in the Oval Office will be dismantling the health care law that covers some 20 million Americans.
The order does not change the law, but could have a significant impact nonetheless.
It directs the secretary of health and human services, as well as other agencies, to interpret regulations as loosely as allowed to minimize the financial burden on individuals, insurers, health care providers and others.
It stressed that agencies can “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay implementation of any provision or requirement” of Obamacare that imposes a burden “to the maximum extent permitted by law.”
One possible example is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to be insured or pay a penalty unless they can prove a financial hardship. The Trump administration could try to loosen the criteria for qualifying for a hardship exemption. That way, fewer people would have to pay the penalty, which would be in line with the executive order and the call to provide relief to Americans suffering from the Obamacare’s high costs.
“This will set the gears of the bureaucracy moving in a very different direction,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Many of the changes envisioned in this order will take time to implement, but it signals a clear direction.”