With Republicans’ ObamaCare overhaul sidelined on Capitol Hill, the Trump administration is vowing to use its full legal authority to “immediately” help Americans and mitigate the health care law’s “harmful effects.”
That means that as congressional Republicans regroup on strategy for pursuing future legislation, it will fall to Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and other administration officials to pursue changes to the Affordable Care Act for now. These potential changes would not be as sweeping as those contained in the failed GOP legislation, but range from cutting government costs to providing relief from certain requirements to customers and insurers.
“Secretary Price is, and always will be, focused on patients,” agency spokeswoman Alleigh Marre told Fox News on Wednesday. “He and the HHS team will continue to pursue actions to mitigate the ACA’s harmful effects and protect patients.”
Though President Trump has threatened to let ObamaCare “implode” on its own, his administration has several options to try to improve the 2010 law absent new legislation – and already has used one.
Trump signed an executive order in January directing federal agencies to easy some of ObamaCare’s regulatory burdens -- resulting in the IRS processing tax refunds for Americans who violated the law and failed to provide the agency with proof of insurance.
Additional options for the HHS secretary include tweaking what types of coverage insurers are required to offer, pulling back on the mandate to buy insurance and cutting federal subsidies that help low- and middle-income customers afford ObamaCare coverage – which likely would prompt a backlash.
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