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President Donald Trump is officially making moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), aka Obamacare. He's been talking about repealing the ACA since before he set foot in the Oval Office. And today, he signed an executive order that marks the first step in actually doing so.
A little background: In March, Republicans introduced their first new health care bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The House of Representatives narrowly passed the AHCA in late April. Immediately afterward, Republican Senators decided to do their own thing, and announced a plan to write their own health care reform bill: the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). The Senate defeated the BCRA twice over the summer, and then defeated three other versions of health care reform bills as well (what are being called the partial repeal, "skinny" repeal, and Graham-Cassidy repeal).
Trump expressed his frustration with the delay. On October 10, he tweeted, "Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people - FAST." Then on the 12th, he signed the executive order.
Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people - FAST
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
So what, exactly, will this executive order do? In general, the order is removing and altering regulations put in place by the ACA. Trump claims it will help expand competition and lower insurance rates, as well as provide "relief" to millions of Americans with Obamacare. Critics say these changes may increase costs for consumers with serious medical conditions and send insurers fleeing the law's marketplace.
One thing common across the board with these proposed health care reforms is a serious threat to women's reproductive and preventative health care rights. ICYMI, the Trump administration recently issued a new rule giving employers permission to exclude contraception in health insurance plans for any religious or moral reason—a huge step backward from the ACA, which mandated that for-profit employers cover a full range of birth control options (from IUDs to Plan B) at no additional cost to women. The proposed AHCA would also have increased women's preventative health care costs for services like mammograms and pap smears. (That's one reason ob-gyns aren't psyched about the outlook on women's health for the next four years.)
It's TBD exactly what Trump's latest presidential action will mean for American health care—though it likely won't have a significant effect before Obamacare's next open enrollment season begins next month.