Trump Move Threatens 'Keystone' of ObamaCare
Individual mandate could be in jeopardy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 23, 2017 9:54 AM CST
Vice President Mike Pence, left, watches as President Trump conducts his first business as president in the Oval Office on Friday.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

(Newser) – President Trump's first executive order, issued Friday, went after ObamaCare, though the practical implications remain unclear. Trump instructed federal agencies to "waive, defer, grant ­exemptions from or delay" any aspects of the law that would "impose a financial burden." Some coverage of what that might mean:

  • Perhaps the biggest issue at play is the fate of the individual mandate, which requires people to buy insurance, reports BuzzFeed. If agencies provide widespread exemptions, it could roil insurance markets.
  • Indeed, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that the White House may try to stop enforcement of the provision even before Congress acts, reports Bloomberg.

  • If Trump kills or weakens the mandate, "it's hard to overstate how destructive this decision would be" to the law, per an analysis at Slate. It calls the mandate the "keystone" of the Affordable Care Act, but adds that it's not clear how far Trump can go on the matter without Congress.
  • CNN provides examples of what Trump's executive order can do, including giving states more leeway on how they run their programs.
  • One vulnerability of ObamaCare is that an unusually large portion of it is in place as the result of executive action rather than Congress, explains Politico. That's a result of Democrats losing their supermajority in the Senate with the election of Scott Brown in 2010.
  • For now, Trump's action is the equivalent of tossing a "bomb" into the "already shaky" insurance market, a consultant tells the Washington Post.
  • Congress, meanwhile, will continue working on repeal-and-replace legislation, but it's a safe bet that a Jan. 27 deadline for committees to present their particular sections of a new bill will be missed. The Hill takes a look at what's next on Capitol Hill.

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