In his first round of executive orders, President Donald Trump has instructed all federal agencies to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay” any part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that imposes a financial or regulatory burden, but the practical implications and potential fallout from the order are still unclear, according to a report from Kaiser Health News (KHN).
No confirmed secretaries or political appointees are in place at any of the relevant agencies, so it is unlikely that anything will happen in the near future, KHN says.
Last week, Trump told the Washington Post that he was putting finishing touches on a health plan that would guarantee “insurance for everybody.” Those comments, however, were quickly walked back by staff.
Meanwhile, the nomination of Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Representative Tom Price (R-Georgia), has been delayed by Democrats’ allegations of conflicts of interest involving his ownership of stocks in health companies while he served on congressional committees overseeing health issues.
Congress has already taken the first step toward overhauling the PPACA. Both the House and the Senate passed a budget resolution that orders committees to begin writing bills that would eliminate portions of the act that directly affect the budget.
But while a “repeal and replace” bill––which hasn’t been written yet––could pass the Senate with a 51-vote majority, Republicans have only 52 seats in the Senate, and some lawmakers have expressed reservations about repealing the PPACA without an immediate replacement.
House and Senate Republicans are scheduled to discuss the matter next week at a retreat in Philadelphia. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to attend.
Source: Kaiser Health News; January 20, 2107.