President Trump has been working at warp speed to deliver on one his campaign promises. Wielding the power of the pen, he has signed nearly a dozen executive orders within his first week in office. Let’s take an in-depth look at his first groundbreaking order.
In an effort to accelerate the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s first order essentially instructs the rest of the executive branch to take any actions permissible under the letter of the law to defy the spirit of the law. Buried in the sea of Chicken Little headlines are a few objective or even optimistic reports on the significance of this action.
Central to the order is the concept of minimizing the economic burden of the Affordable Care Act. While never specifically called out by name, most experts agree that the first burden to go will be the individual mandate. Buried in the original law is a provision for exempting certain people from the individual mandate: Who qualifies for this exemption is never explicitly spelled out, but left to the discretion of the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Trump has tacitly ordered the functional removal of one of the most egregious breaches of liberty enacted by the previous administration.
Much criticism has been directed at the president for willingness to act without a plan for replacing Obamacare. Take a look at the actual wording of the order, however, and Trump’s next moves are apparent. Chief among these are to “provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing health care programs” as well as to “encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce.” Whatever form replacement takes, it looks like Trump will make good on his goal to allow states to take more control over their health care laws and their Medicaid programs. He is also preparing to fulfill his promise to allow citizens to purchase insurance across state lines.
Drawing a distinction between himself and his predecessor, Trump’s first executive order will have real and immediate benefits for the pocketbooks and time cards of citizens and bureaucrats. Eight years ago, Obama spent his first signature on an executive order designed to make presidential records more accessible to the public.
Prioritizing tangible benefits over symbolic ideology is the right move for our nation.
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