The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, will no doubt undergo significant changes in 2017. President Donald Trump has made several very public statements to the effect. And he followed his “pledge” with an Executive Order on the evening of his inauguration. No matter how you voted, you can not ignore the potential impact on the election on health care. Professionals who see seniors and Medicare eligibles face to face in the course of business are going to get the question, “What do these changes mean for me?”
President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at “Rolling Back Obamacare.” This executive order is a multi-part plan that states that the administration’s official policy is to “seek the prompt repeal” of the Affordable Care Act. While the executive order is telling, the law in place today must still be upheld.
What does that mean? Trump will direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services and others to interpret regulations as loosely as allowed to minimize the financial burden on individuals, insurers, health care providers and others. According to a report from the New York Times, the broad language gave federal agencies wide latitude to change, delay, or waive provisions of the law that they deemed overly costly for insurers, drug manufacturers, physicians, patients or state governments.
Messages from leading congressional leadership may appear mixed on this subject. Why is that? Primarily because those individual leaders have seized upon a narrowly focused aspect of President Trump’s most recent remarks to Congress. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there is widespread disagreement on the subject. But it does remain crystal clear that congressional leaders will maximize the messaging to their constituents back home. In other words, they want people to know that their leaders are doing what they promised.
Dr. Tom Price, the new HHS Secretary in remarks made today alongside Vice-President Mike Pence, stated that he supports President Trump’s assertion that repealing and replacing ObamaCare is the number one priority.
While some disagree, Trump has plenty of supporters. Robert Moffit of the Heritage Foundation says, “With Dr. Price taking the helm of American health policy, doctors and patients alike have sound reasons to hope for a welcome and long-overdue change.”
As the Trump administration begins revising the Affordable Care Act, all we can do is “hurry up and wait.”