ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - Frustrated by failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act in Congress, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday promising lower costs and more options for millions of customers who buy their own health insurance.
“This is going to be something millions and millions of people are going to be signing up for, and they're going to be very happy," he said in front of Cabinet members and other officials. "This will be great health care."
The order directs federal agencies to facilitate the expansion of plans that could be shielded from state and federal insurance requirements. One proposal would allow groups of employers to form associations to buy health plans across state lines, with the belief that competition would drive premiums down. Another would ease restrictions on the purchase of short-term health plans that last less than a year.
“Paying for maternity coverage, paying for ambulances or prescription drugs, if you eliminate those from the benefits, that could make it cheaper,” said Dan McLaughlin, Director for the Center of Health and Medical Affairs at the University of St. Thomas.
The changes have created concern among officials in charge of insurance markets on the state level.
“The President’s Executive Order opens the door for a race to the bottom for inadequate health insurance coverage that could leave Minnesotans without the care they need,” said Mike Rothman, Commissioner of the Minnesota Commerce Department in a statement to Fox 9. “The devil will be in the details. The order creates even more uncertainty than we have today for both consumers and insurers in our state. This will result in fewer consumer protections and more market instability, including for people with pre-existing medical conditions.”