A good number of my Facebook friends are freaking out over the executive order signed by President Trump on the 20th of January. They feel he has repealed the Affordable Care Act. In reality he has not. According to attorneys at the Atlanta office of FordHarrison:
“The President’s Executive Order does not expressly repeal or delay the Employer Mandate under Section 4980H of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) or the ACA reporting requirements under Code Sections 6055 and 6056. Instead, the Order directs the agencies to scale back on the enforcement of the ACA wherever they can, while the new administration and Congress work on repealing the ACA.”
On Jan. 13. 2017 the House of Representatives did pass a budget resolution for 2017, which began the process of repealing the ACA through the process of budget reconciliation. This allows for expedited consideration of tax, spending, and debt limit legislation. This had also been passed by the Senate. This is where the action will be. But according to Ford Harrison nothing will happen immediately for a couple of different reasons. First new agencies heads are not yet even in place. And “Moreover, the rules and regulations related to the ACA can only be replaced or deleted through the administrative rulemaking process. Thus, carrying out the directives in the Executive Order will require revision of rules through the notice-and-comment rulemaking process.”
The attorneys also say:
Furthermore, reconciliation is not a “magic wand,” and full repeal of the ACA cannot be accomplished through the budget reconciliation process. Instead, a budget reconciliation bill can only address the ACA provisions that relate to budgetary issues (including, for example, the Employer Mandate). Both the House and Senate have a target date of January 27, 2017, to draft repeal legislation. However, until such legislation is drafted and passed, the Employer Mandate is still law, and employers should continue to comply.
So no one is going to wake up tomorrow without their insurance.
Here is the full verbiage of the Executive Order. Read it and relax a little bit.
MINIMIZING THE ECONOMIC BURDEN OF THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PENDING REPEAL
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended (the “Act”). In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.
Sec. 2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies (agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications.
Sec. 3. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies with authorities and responsibilities under the Act, shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs.
Sec. 4. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the head of each department or agency with responsibilities relating to healthcare or health insurance shall encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers.
Sec. 5. To the extent that carrying out the directives in this order would require revision of regulations issued through notice-and-comment rulemaking, the heads of agencies shall comply with the Administrative Procedure Act and other applicable statutes in considering or promulgating such regulatory revisions.
Sec. 6. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.