Does President Trump’s Executive Order on the ACA Change Much?
Not really. On President Trump’s first day in office, he issued a number of executive orders. One of these orders dealt with the Affordable Care Act. The order instructs federal agencies to “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.”
While the order outlines policy direction to the agencies that signals that President Trump is serious about his campaign promise to repeal the ACA, this order may be more of a symbolic statement than anything else. While I admit that I don’t use much of what I learned in my constitutional law class in my daily practice, I do remember the fundamental concept that we have three branches of government and that the President is only given certain powers. His powers are much broader on the foreign policy side, but on the domestic side the President does not have the authority to use an executive order to change the law or make regulations. So while this order can be used by the federal agencies to relax enforcement or delay effective dates of particular provisions of the ACA, it does not itself change the law.
So as an employer, our advice to you has not changed since our post last week. We still recommend that you steer the course you have been on with your health plan until we receive additional guidance.