President Trump Signs Executive Order to Help Lower Health Insurance Costs and Expand Choices

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Oct 12, 2017   |   12:10PM   |   Washington, DC

With Congress unable to secure enough votes to repeal Obamacare or to modify it in a way to help Americans dealing with the significant problems under it, President Donald Trump has been doing what he can to mitigate the issues.

First, as LifeNews reported, the Trump Administration provided relief to Christian businesses and organizations that were forced to fund abortion causing drugs under Obamacare and their health insurance programs for their employees.

Today, President Trump signed an executive order to help lower health insurance costs and expand choices for consumers who are stuck with few options under Obamacare. With rising costs for most Americans under the failed Obamacare plan, the executive order could provide some fiscal relief for them.

Trump said Thursday the order is “starting that process” to repeal ObamaCare. It will be the “first steps to providing millions of Americans with ObamaCare relief,” Trump said.

The Washington Examiner newspaper has more details on the executive order and what it will do to help Americans struggling to pay for or keep health insurance. The order will direct various agencies to “provide relief” to unsubsidized Obamacare customers.

The executive order will be aimed primarily at Obamacare customers who are facing higher costs in the Obamacare market, senior administration officials said. In a call with reporters previewing the order, Andrew Bremberg, director of the Domestic Policy Council, said Trump still believes Congress needs to act on Obamacare, but also that “this administration must act to provide relief.” The executive order, he said, is the one action over the next few months that can “prevent harms by Obamacare’s failures.”

Trump’s executive order has five components, said Brian Blase, special assistant to the president for Healthcare Policy with the National Economic Council. Broadly, it will direct the administration to increase healthcare choice and quality. The Department of Labor will have to expand the use of “association health plans,” which would allow various small businesses, or perhaps individuals, to band together for the purpose of providing health insurance.

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The order also would direct the secretaries of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services to issue regulations on short-term health insurance, which the Obama administration limited, and allow for changes to health reimbursement arrangements.

The agencies will have 180 days report to the president about any other changes that could be made, at the state or the federal level, to increase choices for consumers.

Middle-class Americans who do not receive health insurance through a job or through a government program are facing higher premiums under Obamacare for 2018, but the different agencies will need several months to be able to review the regulations, propose changes and allow for a public comment period before changes are made. This means changes probably won’t come in time for Obamacare’s open enrollment period, which begins Nov. 1 and ends Dec. 15, given that public comment periods typically last 180 days.

Blase said the arrangement would allow “broad participation by the American people.”

With many Obamacare plans paying for abortions, expanded health insurance choices could help pro-life Americans find plans where their premiums do not go towards paying for the destruction of human life.

Democrats are opposing the move saying it would weaken the Obamacare health insurance market by opening up more non-Obamacare plans.