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Ramesh Ponnuru: Trump's Obamacare cure is worse than the disease

12 October 2017

"Ha! Not even close", Heritage Action spokesman Dan Holler wrote in an email yesterday, after I'd asked whether the executive order eases pressure on Republicans in the House and Senate.

Many Americans are upset by President Donald Trump's referral of many of President Barack Obama executive orders to Congress for review.

The action could further undermine Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans in Congress have repeatedly failed to repeal and replace.

It typically takes government agencies several months to carry out presidential directives, since they generally must follow a notice-and-comment process.

"We will have to do something with Obamacare because it's failing", he said, gesturing to his 94-year-old guest. It is unlikely that Kissinger is getting his insurance from Obamacare's individual market, yet Trump claimed that he did not want to "pay 116 percent increase in his premiums".

Republicans have long supported the idea to allow coverage to be sold across state lines, saying this would be the most effective way to promote competition among health insurers - particularly in areas where people buying coverage on their own only have one insurer selling plans. While Trump cannot end Obamacare with an executive order per se, he could potentially heavily destabilize the Obamacare marketplace and possibly re-introduce many health care coverage and cost issues that abounded pre-Obamacare. Instead, the nationwide plans would be subject to the same federal oversight as large-employer policies.

The premise behind association plans is to allow people to band together so they can purchase health insurance more cheaply.

The switch could also allow association plans to deny coverage or set rates based on the medical history of those in the group, so plans with younger, healthier members could offer lower premiums.

The administration has slashed the ACA advertising budget, halved the open enrollment period and cut funding to groups that help sign people up for insurance under the law.

Regardless, Trump, fed up with a "Congress that can't get its act together", is expected to make changes to Obamacare this week that will expand options for individuals and small business.

Ramesh Ponnuru: Trump's Obamacare cure is worse than the disease