One of the pillars of President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign was to repeal Obamacare and replace it with a healthcare system that actually worked for Americans.
Despite the U.S. Senate’s unwillingness to take real action to repeal Obamacare, Trump is hard at work to undo Obamacare with his executive pen.
President Trump inherited a health insurance crisis when he took office in January 2017, so he and congressional Republican leaders immediately began to work to implement their plan to replace Obamacare with a more market-centered approach to improving the nation’s health insurance system. That plan failed miserably, and ever since, the Trump administration has steadily been working—often quietly—to gut Obamacare of its most burdensome provisions, providing millions of Americans with financial relief and alternative ways to purchase affordable health insurance and putting Obamacare on a path toward complete collapse.
For example, in December 2017, at the request of the Trump administration and some conservatives in Congress, Republicans included in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act a provision reducing the Obamacare penalty for not purchasing “qualifying” health insurance to $0, beginning in January 2019. This move was particularly important for working-class families because IRS tax data show of the 6.6 million filers required to pay the Obamacare penalty in 2015, the most recent year for which data are available, 36 percent had an adjusted gross income of $10,000 to $25,000. That means Republicans’ decision to lower the penalty to $0 will save millions of working-class people from having to pay fees they likely can’t afford.
Effectively eliminating the Obamacare penalty will provide great financial relief to millions of people, but it won’t help Americans gain access to lower-priced health insurance policies. Thankfully, the Trump administration has implemented other reforms to accomplish that goal.
For instance, in June, with the support of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the Trump administration’s Department of Labor finalized a rule permitting sole proprietors, employees of small businesses, and small business owners with a “commonality of interest”—such as living in the same state or working in the same industry—to join together to purchase association health plans. AHPs allow thousands of people to buy insurance as a large group and across state lines, dramatically increasing health insurance options. These plans also lower costs for those in an association because they can negotiate prices as a group in the same way large employers can. Further, these plans don’t allow people to be denied coverage or forced to pay higher prices because of a preexisting condition, protecting those with health problems from the possibility of losing coverage or having to pay significantly more than other members of an association.
Way to go President Trump!