KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Trump Touts Executive Order As First Step Toward ACA Repeal, But Move Was Largely Ceremonial

President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order to allow for "association" plans and to relax other Affordable Care Act regulations. The New York Times and other outlets take a look at what's actually in the order.

Politico: Trump’s Salvo On Obamacare Unlikely To Result In Quick Changes
President Donald Trump may be eager to dismantle the Affordable Care Act after months of failed GOP repeal efforts, but his promise to provide millions of Americans "with Obamacare relief" with the executive order he signed Thursday is sure to collide with the slow grind of the federal bureaucracy. Trump’s order directs a trio of federal agencies to rewrite regulations to encourage the rise of a raft of cheap, loosely regulated health insurance plans that don't have to comply with certain Obamacare consumer protections and benefit rules. They're expected to attract younger and healthier people — leaving older and sicker ones in the Obamacare markets facing higher and higher costs. (Cancryn, 10/12)

CQ: Health Care Rules In Trump's Order Could Take Months
President Donald Trump, frustrated by the lack of action in Congress to roll back the 2010 health care law, used an executive order he signed Thursday to direct three agencies to draft rules that would loosen regulations on insurance. The changes would allow more groups to use association health plans, lengthen the time an individual can be covered by a short-term insurance policy and allow employers to set aside pre-tax dollars for their employees to use for monthly premiums. The administration hopes the new rules would lead to cheaper health care options. (McIntire, 10/12)

The Wall Street Journal: Trump Signs Order Paving Way For Health-Care Changes
Thursday’s executive order paves the way for a proliferation of less-expensive insurance plans with fewer benefits for those who buy their insurance individually, rather than getting it through an employer. A range of next steps are on the table, but White House officials said no final decisions have been made. (Armour, 10/13)

NPR: Trump Order Aims To Promote Insurance Options
"The competition will be staggering," Trump said. "Insurance companies will be fighting to get every single person signed up. And you will be, hopefully, negotiating, negotiating, negotiating. And you will get such low prices for such great care." (Horsley, 10/12)

Los Angeles Times: Trump Issues Order To Deregulate Health Insurance, Promising Relief From Obamacare
The broadly worded order leaves many key elements of the new plans uncertain, however, subject to a lengthy administrative process, which means the order’s impact will remain unclear, and the new plans unavailable to consumers, for this year’s open enrollment season and many months to come. Trump avoided that point as he formally released the order at the White House, declaring that it would “provide millions of Americans with Obamacare relief” and would “increase competition, increase choice and increase access to lower-priced, high-quality healthcare options.” (Levey, 10/12)

Kaiser Health News: Trump’s Order Advances GOP Go-To Ideas To Broaden Insurance Choices, Curb Costs
The executive order directs many agencies, including the Department of Labor, to consider proposing rules or new guidance to loosen current restrictions on what are called “association health plans” and on selling low-cost, short-term insurance. ... Associations are generally membership groups based on a profession or business. Proponents say allowing consumers to buy insurance through these organizations gives them more clout with insurers than they’d have buying their own plan on the individual market — and results in lower premiums. But the real savings in premiums is likely to come because the policies could offer fewer benefits than more regulated ACA plans, and the associations would have more leeway to set premiums based on the health of the group. (Appleby, 10/12)

Bloomberg: Trump Moves To Undo Obamacare After Repeal Drive Fails On Hill 
While the administration characterized the order as a way to drive down rising premiums and expand coverage to more Americans, critics said it would undermine existing markets by encouraging healthier people to buy skimpier plans. That would likely lead premiums for Obamacare plans, which offer more encompassing coverage regardless of a person’s health history, to surge. (Rausch, 10/12)

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