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Trump bypasses Congress, signs executive order on health care

(AP Photo)

Frustrated with Congress’ inability to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on health care Thursday.

Highlights include availability of lower-premium plans to more consumers and opening access so plans could be sold across state lines.

“We’re going to have a widely available plan, that is going to cost much less,” Trump said. “… It will cost us nothing.”

The order gets around several provisions of the Affordable Care Act, which has caused concern among Democrats and some regulators.

“We are taking crucial steps in saving the American people from the nightmare of Obamacare,” the president said.

Trump has frequently pushed the idea of interstate competition for health care, saying it would lower the cost of premiums.

The president tweeted earlier in the week that he would take care of the health plan situation himself.

Medical associations, consumer groups and even insurers were likely to oppose the plan. Those groups fought the GOP Congress to a standstill, saying the it would increase costs for the ailing and create gaps in coverage the healthy.

At least three federal agencies will have to rewrite rules so that trade groups can offer their own plans instead of being bound by state regulations.

“It would have a very negative impact on the markets,” Mike Kreidler, the insurance commissioner in Washington State, told the New York Times.

“Our state is a poster child of what can go wrong. Association health plans often shun the bad risks and stay with the good risks.”

Politico reported the Labor Department had met with business trade groups and begun to reinterpret federal regulations.

Treasury and Health and Human Services would also have to play a role in the changes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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