Trump Signs Executive Order on Healthcare, Promises "Staggering" Competition

Kelly Davio

President Donald Trump today signed an executive order on healthcare. The order will allow businesses to form associations that will have the ability to purchase health coverage from across state lines.

President Donald Trump today signed an executive order on healthcare. The order will allow businesses to form associations that will have the ability to purchase health coverage from across state lines.

Trump said that the ability to purchase such plans would be “Very, very powerful for our nation and very good for a lot of people.” The order also includes provisions for the creation of health plans that will provide short-term, limited-duration coverage, and for exploration of how employers might use health reimbursement arrangements, which are plans that reimburse employees for medical expense paid for out of pocket.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) said that “what I believe is the biggest free market reform of healthcare in a generation” that would “…allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines and at an inexpensive price.” Vice President Mike Pence also praised the executive order, saying that it was a “Critical step to lower the cost of health insurance for working Americans.”

While today’s executive order may not be the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that Republicans have promised their supporters, Trump made it clear that today’s effort was part of a larger push to overhaul healthcare: “I just keep hearing repeal, replace; repeal, replace. Well, we’re starting that process,” he said. “I believe we have the votes to do block grants” at a later time, he went on, apparently referring to a plan similar to the one proposed in the Graham-Cassidy healthcare reform bill that recently failed to garner enough support to move to a Senate vote.

Trump also suggested that the ACA individual market would continue to lose participation from insurers, predicting that half of all counties in the nation would have only 1 insurer participating in the ACA health insurance exchanges, and that others would have none. Allowing associations to purchase insurance plans across states would mean that “they will have so many options,” and that competition among plans would be “staggering.”

The president also indicated that the coming months would see his administration taking further measures related to healthcare and to the economy at large. These measures, he promised, would include “massive” tax cuts.