Updated: May 10
Well, light my jammies on fire! President Trump is a fast learner. Obama said he had a “pen and a phone” and before he left office, he left both on the desk for Trump to use. Executive Orders (EO) are mostly just directives for department heads to have a written “policy” to guide their actions. Basically, Trump’s recent EO about Obamacare instructs all applicable department heads to follow the Affordable Care Act process, giving as much grace as possible when a proper request is made by anybody for any reason. I think the most telling part of this EO is the statement made in section 1. “It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.” So there you have it. The new “policy” for department heads is to use whatever legal means possible “…to minimize unwarranted economic regulatory burdens of the Act…” It is possible that one of the first actions to be taken will be by the Justice Department in dropping it’s appeal of a lower court ruling (U.S. House of Representatives vs Burwell) that went against Obamacare regarding subsidy payments to Insurance Companies. Absent subsidies, Insurance Companies can not easily afford to insure the very sick without applying some sort of liability limits due to pre-existing conditions. Another immediate consequence of Trump’s EO is to give the current Secretary of Health and Human Services some “cover” to allow a much easier exemption process for anybody who applies. Under Obamacare, companies and individuals may petition the Secretary of Health and Human Services for relief from following provisions of the law, such as having to provide health insurance if a company has more than 50 full-time employees; or an individual can request relief from the penalty for not having health insurance, etc. This is not a blanket non-enforcement directive of Obamacare. But it is a first “baby step” to pulling out it’s teeth. Have no fear! The Republicans in Congress have been contemplating how to fix or replace Obamacare since 2010. The real solution is to bring back a competitive free market for health insurance providers. (That might take several years to put in place, so no fast major changes will occur.) This year, we get to sit back and watch the show as it unfolds regarding what the Republicans in Congress will do. In the mean time, you will still need to purchase Health Insurance since the IRS will continue to enforce Obamacare with the penalties provided in that law. Have you heard? Prov 8:15 says, “By me (Wisdom) kings reign, And rulers decree justice.” Kelly Bullis is a Certified Public Accountant in Carson City. Contact him at 882-4459. On the web at BullisAndCo.com Also on Facebook.