President Trump said Tuesday that he will be signing an executive order on health care “probably this week” that will provide “great, great health care.”
Trump’s executive order, which has been expected for several weeks, is aimed at allowing small businesses and other groups to join together to buy health insurance through what are known as association health plans.
“I’ll also be signing something probably this week which is going to go a long way to take care of many of the people that have been so badly hurt on health care,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “They’ll be able to buy, they’ll be able to cross state lines, and they will get great competitive health care and it will cost the United States nothing.”
The full details of the order are not yet clear, and Trump did not provide any more details. Some observers are expecting the order to be issued on Thursday.
Supporters of ObamaCare worry the order would undermine the health law by siphoning healthy people away from ObamaCare plans into the new association health plans, which do not have to follow the same rules. Read more here.
More on what the order could mean: Trump could make waves with health care order
President Trump’s planned executive order on ObamaCare is worrying supporters of the law and insurers, who fear it could undermine the stability of ObamaCare.
Trump’s order, expected as soon as this week, would allow small businesses or other groups of people to band together to buy health insurance. Some fear that these association health plans would not be subject to the same rules as ObamaCare plans, including those that protect people with pre-existing conditions.
That would make these plans cheaper for healthy people, potentially luring them away from the ObamaCare market. The result could be that only sicker, costlier people remain in ObamaCare plans, leading to a spike in premiums.
“If this executive order is anything like the rumors then it could have a huge impact on stability of the individual insurance market,” said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Read more here.
House GOP delays children’s health vote to restart talks with Dems
Republicans on the House’s health committee have agreed to return to negotiations with Democrats on a bill to continue funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
House Energy & Commerce Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said Monday he would delay floor consideration of the bill passed by the committee last week “in hopes of reaching a bipartisan agreement on offsets.”
The bill last week passed with no support from Democrats, who complained that the bill took money from Medicare and the Affordable Care Act to offset the costs of the program.
“I am pleased to know that Democrats are willing to seriously consider reasonable, bipartisan ways to offset the cost of CHIP and important public health priorities like community health centers, the National Health Service Corps and the special diabetes program,” Walden said in a statement. Read more here.
FDA chief plays down talk of succeeding Price at HHS
Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, considered a possible candidate to be President Trump’s next health secretary, said Tuesday he thinks he can be “most effective” in his current role.
“I feel like I want to continue to follow through on the policies we’ve put out and it’s where I think I can be most effective,” Gottlieb told Reuters in an interview.
But Gottlieb did not rule out moving up to the Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary position, declining to say whether he has been in talks about the job.
“I’m not going to get into private discussions I might have had around that,” he said.
Gottlieb, along with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, is seen as a leading contender to lead HHS.
Read more here.
West Virginia gets OK to expand substance abuse treatment coverage
The Trump administration has approved a request by West Virginia to expand Medicaid coverage for treatment of substance abuse disorders, state officials announced Tuesday.
West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, and officials said the waiver will contribute to a “comprehensive statewide strategy” to combat prescription drug abuse and opioid use disorders.
The waiver allows West Virginia to cover methadone, naloxone, peer recovery support, withdrawal management and short-term residential services to all Medicaid enrollees. Read more here
What we’re reading
Bill Frist: I like much of ObamaCare (Washington Examiner)
Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE says his plan will save Henry Kissinger from ObamaCare (CNBC)
State by state
Trump cut ACA television ads. So nonprofits in Kansas City are running their own (Kansas City Star)
Pharma’s Puerto Rico problems could mean drug shortages: FDA chief (Reuters)
In new test for ObamaCare, Iowa seeks to abandon marketplace (The New York Times)