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Trump Signs Executive Order Expanding Healthcare Associations, Purchase Across State Lines

U.S. President Donald Trump calls on Republican Senators to move forward and vote on a healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, as people negatively affected by the law stand behind him, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)
U.S. President Donald Trump calls on Republican Senators to move forward and vote on a healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, as people negatively affected by the law stand behind him, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump calls on Republican Senators to move forward and vote on a healthcare bill to replace the Affordable Care Act, as people negatively affected by the law stand behind him, in the Blue Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 24, 2017. (Photo: Reuters)

President Donald Trump signed an executive order expanding healthcare associations to millions and allowing those plans to be purchased across state lines.

The President began what he called “a truly historic announcement” by thanking the Pakistani government for their cooperation in helping to secure the release of the Boyle-Coleman family from captivity.

“A lot of countries are starting to respect the United States of America once again.”

The President was joined by Senator Rand Paul, R-Kty., who spoke about the order before Vice President Mike Pence introduced the main event. The libertarian-leaning Senator Paul and the President had been working on this order for months.

“This reform, if it works and goes as planned, will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines,” Sen. Paul said. “I’m very glad to be part of this.”

“This is what real free market replacement looks like.”

The Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States is aimed at the roughly 28 million Americans who aren’t purchasing healthcare on the ObamaCare exchanges. It aims to arrest the decline in options and affordability to small businesses and their employees as a result of the destabilization of the insurance markets.

“Seven years ago, Congressional Democrats broke the American health care system,” President Trump said, adding the order will “increase competition, increase choice and access to high-quality healthcare options. This will cost the United States government virtually nothing and people will have great healthcare.”

Sen. Paul echoed the President on cost in an op-ed for Breitbart News published just before the announcement.

“The 28 million individuals left behind by Obamacare will now be eligible for inexpensive insurance,” he wrote. “The cost to the taxpayer? ZERO! As opposed to the trillion-dollar, ‘fake’ replacements we voted on, this replacement simply legalizes choice.”

Still, about half of the counties in the U.S. will only have one insurer in the ObamaCare market next year. White House domestic policy director Andrew Bremberg told reporters during a conference call Thursday that the Trump Administration intends to take “additional actions” on health care over the next few months.

The order, which the White House hopes to implement within 6 months, directs Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta to expand access to Association Health Plans and come up with ways to allow purchasing across state lines. Critics say it will pull younger, healthier people out of the marketplace and further hurt ObamaCare. However, they aren’t buying at the needed rate right now.

“This will allow small employers to have the same options as large employers to get their employees more options,” the President said. “This will create tremendous competition and transformative change aimed at creating more and lower prices.”

While “association health plans” could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements, the White House said participating employers would not be allowed to exclude workers from the plan, or charge more to those in poor health or with preexisting conditions.

“We are moving toward lower costs and lower options in the health care market,” President Trump added.

Health Associations, which essentially give millions the same group insurance that big corporations offer, may grow to be larger than the largest of corporations.

Sen. Paul noted how million-person Health Associations “will have enormous leverage to get better prices” for consumers, which is “exactly why Big Insurance opposes them.”

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