But in giving agencies permission to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay” ACA rules, the order appears to create room for the Department of Health and Human Services to narrow or gut a set of medical benefits that the ACA compels insurers to include in health plans that they sell to individuals and small businesses.The order does not mention Medicaid, but it says one of its goals is to “provide greater flexibility to States,” raising the question of whether the Trump HHS might try to loosen rules for states that have expanded the program for lower-income Americans, as the law allows.Trump’s health-care order came at the end of what had otherwise been a largely ceremonial day.
Also Friday, Trump signed the official paperwork installing Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John F.
Kelly, two of his Cabinet picks the Senate voted to confirm earlier in the day.
“While President Trump may have promised a smooth transition” from the current law to a replacement, said Leslie Dach, director of the fledging Protect Our Care Coalition, “the executive order does the opposite, threatening disruption for health providers and patients.” Also late Friday, Reince Priebus, Trump’s chief of staff, issued an executive memorandum ordering a freeze on regulations for all government agencies.
The memo could freeze several new Energy Department efficiency standards, such as those affecting portable air conditioners, commercial boilers and uninterruptable power supplies, which were issued Dec. The regulations were part of the Obama administration’s broader effort to cut greenhouse-gas emissions linked to climate change.
The order, several paragraphs long, does not identify which of the many federal rules that exist under the ACA the new administration intends to rewrite or eliminate.
In general, federal rules cannot be undone with a pen stroke but require a new rulemaking process to replace or delete them.
But health care was not among a half-dozen issue areas listed on the new White website that debuted shortly after noon on Friday.
Earlier Friday, in the Capitol, the new president took several more perfunctory executive actions shortly after he was sworn in at noon, the most notable being to overturn a recent mortgage-fee reduction — geared at helping first-time and low-income home buyers — that Obama announced last week and that called for the Federal Housing Administration to cut its annual borrowing fee by a quarter of a percentage point.
But the missing issue pages were particularly alarming to Democrats and activists, especially after a vitriolic campaign in which Trump drew criticism for seeming to mock a disabled reporter and being insensitive to the needs and rights of minority communities. The initial Trump website also did not devote a separate section to immigration, another central tenet of his candidacy, though it mentioned immigration under the law enforcement section.