President Trump Issues Executive Order on Health Care Reform

President Trump was not able to keep his campaign promise to repeal health care reform on “Day One” of his administration; however, he did issue the following Executive Order:


By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1: It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended (the “Act”). In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.

Section 2: To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and Agencies (Agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them 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.

Section 3: To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary and the heads of all other executive departments and Agencies with authorities and responsibilities under the Act, shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs.

Section 4: To the maximum extent permitted by law, the head of each department or Agency with responsibilities relating to healthcare or health insurance shall encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.

Section 5: To the extent that carrying out the directives in this order would require revision of regulations issued through notice-and-comment rulemaking, the heads of Agencies shall comply with the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable statutes in considering or promulgating such regulatory revisions.

Section 6:

     (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect
                (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or Agency, or the head thereof; or
               (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to
                   budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

     (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of

     (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or
procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States,
its departments, Agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

This order does not call for any specific actions; instead it gives broad authority to Agencies to take actions to ease regulatory requirements. It is not yet clear what those actions will be.

Potential actions include such things as allowing more exemptions from the individual mandate and loosening the definition of essential health benefits that must be covered by individual and small group policies.

Most major changes will require Congressional action and Congress has already taken the first steps toward repeal by initiating the complex budget reconciliation process.

About John Garner

John Garner has over thirty five years of experience in employee benefits. He specializes in compliance, health care reform, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). He helps clients with life, health, and disability benefits, cost containment, flexible benefits, and claim consulting.

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