2017 Health Care Reform: President Trump’s first executive order targets Obamacare
President Trump’s first executive order, signed hours after taking office, stated his intent to seek prompt repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and, pending repeal, directed agency and department heads to exercise all authority and discretion available to them to minimize the ACA’s impact.
Although the executive order does not itself undo or repeal the ACA, it nonetheless delivers a strong statement on the direction that Trump wants to go and his ideal timeframe.
Specifically, the executive order directed the Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price, and other department and agency heads to exercise all available authority and discretion to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications”.
The order also directed the HHS Secretary and other department heads to provide flexibility to the States and “encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance”.
Although Trump did not specify which parts of the program would be affected by his order, Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said on ABC’s “This Week” program that President Trump “may stop enforcing the individual mandate”.
According to Reuters, healthcare experts have been speculating that President Trump could do this by expanding the exemptions to the mandate.
Although the Trump Administration, and HHS can’t simply repeal the individual mandate—which is law passed by Congress and signed by President Obama—they could make the regulatory exemptions from it so broad that the mandate (which is a critical component of the ACA) is weakened, if not completely ineffective.
Trump’s administration could also decide to delay or not enforce the employer mandate, experts said, or it could alter, or fail to enforce, requirements that insurers cover a basic set of health benefits in all of their plans, from maternity and newborn care to mental health services.
Back in 2013, the Obama Administration used its executive authority to delay the employer mandate…
Make sure your clients understand that the Affordable care Act is still an enforceable statue. The IRS can and will take action in the future to enforce its provisions.
Over the weekend… David Morgan and Richard Cowan of Reuters expressed the following observations about the events in the U. S. House of Representatives that recently happened on March 24, 2017…
“President Donald Trump failed on Thursday to convince enough skeptical members of his own Republican Party to begin dismantling Obamacare, forcing the House of Representatives to delay a vote on the healthcare legislation.
The day was designed to be a big symbolic win for conservatives, with Trump and House Republican leaders planning the vote on the seventh anniversary of former Democratic President Barack Obama signing his namesake healthcare law, formally known as the Affordable Care Act, which became a favored target of Republicans.
Instead, the vote was postponed indefinitely, dealing a setback to Trump in what he hoped would be his first legislative victory. His staff and allies had billed him as “the closer” for high-stakes negotiations with lawmakers.
The House replacement plan, formally called the American Health Care Act, would rescind the taxes created by Obamacare, repeal a penalty against people who do not buy coverage, slash funding for the Medicaid program for the poor and disabled, and modify tax subsidies that help individuals buy plans.
Conservative Republicans objected to the bill because they thought it did not go far enough, and was too similar to Obamacare. Moderate Republicans thought it was too hard on their constituents.
Groups of lawmakers from both camps have met with Trump, and a gathering of moderates known as the “Tuesday Group” was still set to meet with him at the White House on Thursday.
The Republicans have a majority in the House but because of united Democratic opposition, can afford to lose only 21 Republican votes. As of Thursday morning, NBC News said that 30 Republicans had planned to vote “no” or were leaning that way.
With this delay, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan and his Republican leadership team will continue to search for ways to alter the legislation and bring it to a vote.
Even if it does get approval from the House, the legislation faces a potentially tough fight in the Republican-controlled Senate.
The House and Senate had hoped to deliver a new healthcare bill to Trump by April 8, when Congress is scheduled to begin a two-week spring break.
The delay in the house vote is likely to contribute to the ups and downs that have marked hospitals and some insurers for the past month. Most Wall Street analysts are expecting hospital and insurer stocks to be volatile as the likelihood of new healthcare legislation rises and falls.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated 14 million people would lose medical coverage under the Republican plan by next year. It also said 24 million fewer people would be insured by 2026. “…
The take away from both occurrences for our clients is to make sure they are aware of the potential penalties of not carrying health insurance and the need to adhere to the ACA rules and regulations.
We may hear additional direction from Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price in the near future…so stay alert as to what changes may affect our tax planning form 2017.