“Since Congress can’t get its act together on Health Care,” Donald Trump tweeted in October, “I will be using the power of the pen to give great Health Care to many people.” Trump’s tweet was followed by a series of presidential actions that offered substantial relief for middle-class Americans hurt by Obamacare.
Trump’s first action was to restore the freedom to buy short-term policies as a viable alternative to high-priced Obamacare policies. These policies were increasingly popular until Obama imposed a nationwide 90-day limit on such policies, which severely limited their usefulness.
Short-term policies lack some of the costly coverages that many Americans do not want or need, such as maternity care and drug rehab, but they are much more affordable. Typically costing less than half of what Obamacare-compliant policies cost, they could be just what the doctor ordered for millions of middle-class Americans who have been priced out of the individual market for health insurance.
Another welcome Trump action was cutting off “cost sharing reduction” (CSR) payments to insurance companies. “That money is a subsidy for insurance companies,” Mr. Trump said as he announced his long-awaited decision. “Take a look at their stocks. Look where they are. They’re going through the roof.”
A federal judge in Washington, D.C. ruled last year that the CSR payments by Obama were illegal, because Congress never appropriated the money to fund them, but the liberal litigation factory is gearing up to block Trump’s decision to discontinue them. Democratic attorneys general announced plans to file a new lawsuit in California, where they are more likely to find a judge willing to issue an injunction against Trump.
With Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell backing failed candidates as he did in the recent Alabama primary, and criticizing the America-first populism of Steve Bannon, it is unlikely the Senate will accomplish anything soon. Fortunately, President Trump is taking the initiative to lead Americans out of Obamacare and other failed programs of the prior administration.