On Thursday morning, President Donald Trump did what former President Barack Obama did so many times in his two terms — took pen to paper and signed an executive order to bypass Congress. The action, Trump announced on Tuesday, was a response to the failure of congressional leaders.
"Since Congress can’t get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people – FAST," Trump tweeted.
After Trump signed the action on Thursday, Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer condemned the president for "using a wrecking ball to singlehandedly rip apart & sabotage our healthcare system."
So what exactly is in the order that Schumer fears will "rip apart and sabotage our healthcare system"? Trump has simply signed an order that asks the administration to look for ways to increase competition and choice in the health insurance market.
In its coverage of the executive action, CNN tries to maintain its now-permanent alarmist tone about Trump's every move, but its description of the order betrays the absurdity of Schumer's sky-is-falling response as well as the absurdity baked into Obamacare. "The order broadly tasks the administration with developing policies to increase health care competition and choice in order to improve the quality of health care and lower prices," explains CNN.
That doesn't sound much like "ripping apart and sabotaging" anything, unless one only means top-down government control — which of course is exactly what Schumer means and exactly what Obamacare depends on to continue to exist. CNN provides some more details on the order:
Specifically, the President is directing the Labor Department to study how to make it easier for small businesses, and possibly individuals, to join together and buy health insurance through nationwide association health plans, a senior administration official said Thursday. The department could give employers in the same industries more flexibility to offer group coverage across state lines, providing them with a broader range of policies at lower rates.
Separately, the order would allow consumers to buy short-term policies, which don't have to comply with Obamacare's protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Also, it looks to broaden the ability of employers to give workers money to buy their own coverage through health reimbursement arrangements.
So more access to plans, more flexibility within plans, more diverse plans, and more ways to pay for plans. Who could possibly stand against that? Apparently, Schumer and CNN.
One major way the order could undermine Obamacare is by allowing younger and healthier Americans to find cheaper coverage. In other words, Trump's actions could put on full display just how much Obamacare has ripped off the young and the healthy.
Trump put it this way: He is going to provide more competition and choices, and in so doing give millions "Obamacare relief." The cost, he said, is "virtually nothing," and the benefit will be felt by "millions and millions."
If his predictions are right, Schumer and CNN are right to fear for Obama's "signature piece of legislation."