The Health 202: Trump has a backdoor way to lift Obamacare regulations

If at first you don’t succeed at repealing Obamacare, try, try again — with an executive order.

President Trump, desperate for a health-care win that Congress couldn’t hand him, is pursuing a backdoor way of letting more Americans buy insurance plans free of the Obamacare regulations that Republicans have blamed for big premium hikes and costly deductibles.

This week, his White House is finalizing an executive order to allow the formation of what’s known as association health plans — something Trump recently promised to “take care of a tremendous number of people” in the absence of a GOP replacement of the Affordable Care Act. In a tweet this morning, the president promised it will give “great healthcare to many people.”

Here’s how would work: By banding together to buy coverage, individuals and small businesses could join the large group insurance market, which is exempt from the ACA’s requirement that individual and small group plans cover what are known as essential health benefits. These association plans could be formed by trade groups, professional organizations or community groups with the idea of expanding options for consumers and possibly lowering their costs.



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