WASHINGTON (GRAY DC) President Donald Trump Thursday began efforts to rewrite Obamacare on his own, and this time he doesn't need buy-in from lawmakers.
"This will be great health care," Trump told supporters at a White House signing ceremony. He directed members of his cabinet to loosen rules regulating how insurance is sold. It's not repeal and replace, but exactly what Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky asked for months ago.
"The president's been very receptive and I think he was bold to take this move today," Paul said.
The Republican opposed the White House's last effort to reform health care, questioning its ability to provide savings and calling it politically petty. This plan would allow small businesses-- even those in different states-- to band together and buy coverage as a group. Paul says competition cuts cost. "I'm trying to let the little guy get the same insurance you do if you work at Toyota, or Ford, or General Motors," he said.
The president and Paul sell the move as meaning cheaper coverage for Americans; Democrats on the Hill aren't buying it.
"There's two reasons," said Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont. Number one for Welch, he says Congress should work on reform in a bipartisan way. Number two, the rules groups could avoid by buying together could also allow them to get around quality standards and requirements to cover services like contraception. If people opt into junk plans, the cost of comprehensive coverage could increase.
"This could hurt people who are paying for bad coverage-- it's not there when they need it, and it could hurt people who are paying for good coverage because their premiums will go up," Welch said.
The Trump order won't directly impact your care soon. Rules will take time to write, and can't take effect before you buy coverage for 2018.