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Executive Order: Healthcare Across State Lines

The GOP stormed the House, the Senate, and the presidency based on voter resentment again the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On May 4, 2017, the House of Representatives took the first step by passing replacement legislation, but the Senate was unable to pick up the slack. As of now, the Senate has failed to pass any repeal and repeal measure, whether a full repeal or a skinny repeal. Graham-Cassidy, a federalist plan, wasn't even put up to a vote.

President Donald Trump, who campaigned heartily on the GOP promise to repeal and replace the act, was furious at the Senate for not accomplishing what they promised that they would do. Now, with the help of Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), the president is taking the problem into his own hands.

President Trump and Senator Paul

According to Kimberly Leonard of the Washington Examiner, President Trump will sign a transformative executive order on healthcare next week. It will direct the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury, to allow for association health plans. This means that individuals came come together and buy low-cost short-term plans, which the Obama administration limited significantly.

Under the current Labor Department regulations, if individuals want to form an association, they must be in the same industry and they all have to be part of the day-to-day operations of the business. Under Trump's executive order, individuals could join the association health plan of a large employer without having to fall into those same criteria. These associations could then buy coverage from the state that has the least regulations on the insurance companies (i.e. insurance over states lines!).

The association plans would be less regulated, and therefore, cheaper. People with pre-existing conditions aren't ensured association plan coverage, as associations could deny them or charge them more money to participate, but this would bring costs for everyone.

The Trump executive order presents a good remedy to Obamacare, which is collapsing, and a lifeline to Americans struggling with costs. Insurers are expected to raise their rates for coverage in 2018, which would hurt the middle class. As President Trump said, "[Obamacare is] crushing the middle class, and the families of the middle class. It's frankly crushing our country."

There are many Americans who do not receive subsidies because their income is too high but are still struggling to pay for healthcare. I wrote about them in February, saying,

Rising healthcare premiums, induced by the ACA, present a major issue that many Americans can relate to. I have met many people who have been struck by rising costs and they are struggling to get by. Family, friends, and even people that I meet in daily transit have offered their horror stories.

The association healthcare plans could help these individuals by allowing them to purchase less expensive care with the degree of comprehensiveness that fits their needs. In effect, President Trump's executive order will embolden Americans and give them the liberty to make their own healthcare choices.

This executive order follows Trump's rollback of an Obama administration regulation that forced employers to pay for birth control. Both of them combined show that the president is dedicated to expanding individual initiative and liberty when it comes to their own health.