President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday reforming Obamacare following repeated failures by congressional Republicans to pass a health care repeal measure of their own.
The exact changes Trump made to the current health care law are not immediately clear.
The executive order does not necessarily make any administrative changes itself. However, it does order federal agencies, like the departments of Labor, Treasury and Health and Human Services to issue new regulations and guidance, the Washington Examiner reported.
Such new rules will go through an examination phase that could take up to months to complete, according to White House officials.
The revised plans could potentially allow employers to offer coverage across state lines, a reform Trump has long called for, as letting customers buy Obamacare across state lines would generate more competition and likely drive costs down.
“The time has come to give Americans the freedom to purchase health insurance across state lines, which will create a truly competitive national marketplace that will bring costs way down and provide far better care,” read a Thursday morning statement by Trump.
The order seeks to increase the capacity by which small businesses can band together to purchase health insurance via association health plans. The order also removes limits on short-term health insurance plans.
Those who have long sought an Obamacare repeal, or at least some sort of reform measures, can also take solace in that the Trump administration plans to do much more on health care policy.
According to the White House, this executive action is just the beginning.
Trump explained that the order is just “starting that process” to repeal Obamacare, The Hill reported. These are the “first steps to providing millions of Americans with Obamascare relief,” Trump said.
During a signing event at the White House, Trump was joined by administration officials, small business owners and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, with whom Trump has discussed the health care proposal for months.
“When you get Rand Paul on your side it has to be positive,” Trump said.
Democrats and supporters of Obamacare, however, are crying foul. Many of them are arguing that Thursday’s executive action will change American health care for the worse.
Some have suggested the order could derail the stability of health care markets by opening the floodgates to cheaper, lower-quality plans that would lead to an exodus of people away from Obamacare plans.
“This executive order is good for healthy people (while they’re healthy) and bad for sick people,” health care policy expert Larry Levitt tweeted. “Only question is the extent of the effect.”
Trump’s moves come after Senate Republicans tried and failed several times to pass Obamacare repeal this year. Despite controlling a slim majority in both houses of Congress, the GOP has been unable to muster up enough votes to pass health care reform, even failing by one vote to push through a “skinny” repeal bill. (For more from the author of “Trump Signs Executive Order in Effort to Dismantle Obamacare” please click HERE)