President Trump on Friday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to “ease the burden of ObamaCare.”
Trump signed the order in front of reporters at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, one of his first official acts as president.
From The Hill
The order did not direct any specific actions, instead giving broad authority to the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to take actions available to them under the law to ease regulatory requirements from ObamaCare.
It pushes agencies to target provisions that impose a “fiscal burden” on a state or a “cost” or “regulatory burden” on individuals or businesses.
It is not clear what practical effects will come from the order.
But the move could eat away at the law’s individual mandate by granting more exemptions to people so they do not have to purchase insurance.
Republicans have also said they want to loosen the rules around ObamaCare’s requirements on what healthcare services an insurance plan must cover.
Congressional action will be needed to make most major changes to the law.
Trump has made ObamaCare repeal a top priority during his campaign and transition period. He repeatedly pledged to begin rolling back the law on his first day in the White House.
The move came just hours after Trump took the oath of office at the Capitol. The president was flanked by Vice President Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus and senior advisers Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner.
Congress has already taken its first steps toward repealing the law through the complex budget reconciliation process.
Using that process allows lawmakers to repeal central provisions of the law without the 60 votes needed to break a filibuster.
Trump’s order announces that “it is the policy of my administration to seek the prompt repeal” of ObamaCare, but says that in the interim, “it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented.”
In a separate move, Priebus signed a memo ordering a government-wide regulatory freeze until new Cabinet secretaries and agency heads are in place.
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