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Trump Takes Executive Action To Provide Relief From "Obamacare Nightmare"

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With Republicans in Congress unable to pass legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump is taking executive action he claims will provide millions of Americans with relief from the controversial healthcare law.

Trump signed an executive order Thursday directing the administration to develop policies that would offer alternatives to the plans on the Obamacare exchanges.

"It directs the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury, and the Department of Labor to take action to increase competition, increase choice, and increase access to lower-priced, high-quality healthcare options," Trump said of the order. "And they will have so many options."

"This will cost the United States government virtually nothing, and people will have great, great healthcare," he added. "And when I say people, I mean by the millions and millions."

The order calls on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans, allowing small businesses to more easily join together to purchase health insurance.

Trump said Acosta has also been directed to consider ways to expand these associations across state lines in order to increase competition.

Critics have expressed concerns the association health plans will provide fewer benefits at lower premiums, drawing only younger and healthier customers away from the Obamacare exchanges.

The president said the administration will also explore how to expand short-term insurance plans, which are not subject to Obamacare coverage mandates and rules.

Trump claimed the Obama administration crippled the short-term market by preventing the plans from lasting more than three months.

"They will take action to fix that and to make these affordable, flexible plans much more widely available," Trump said of his administration. "So we're going to have a very widely available plan that's going to cost much less."

The order also calls for the administration to explore how to allow more businesses to use tax-free health reimbursement arrangements to compensate their employees for their healthcare expenses.

"This order takes first steps to make it easier for businesses to help their workers afford high-quality and more flexible healthcare through reimbursement accounts," Trump said.

He added, "With these actions, we are moving toward lower costs and more options in the healthcare market and taking crucial steps towards saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare."

Trump said he would take additional steps in the coming months to provide relief from Obamacare and indicated he would continue to pressure Congress to repeal and replace the healthcare law.

However, Democrats were highly critical of the executive order, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., calling it an attempt by Trump to sabotage the healthcare system.

"@POTUS' exec order couldn't be further from his 'great health care' promise. It will up costs for seniors & ppl w/ preexisting conditions," Schumer said in a post on Twitter.

"And it will add further chaos to the markets," he added. "If the system deteriorates, make no mistake about it, the blame will fall squarely on @POTUS."

by RTT Staff Writer

For comments and feedback: editorial@rttnews.com

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