“Since Congress can’t get its act together on Health Care,” Donald Trump tweeted last week from his personal Twitter account, “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 offer substantial relief for middle-class Americans hurt by Obamacare.
Unlike Barack Obama’s executive actions that were justifiably criticized by conservatives, President Trump’s use of the presidential “pen” was entirely within his lawful powers under the Constitution. Trump’s new actions on health care were authorized by laws that were previously passed by Congress, including Obamacare itself.
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.
Only about 20 million Americans rely on the individual and small-group market for health insurance, but that small fraction of our nation has been forced to bear the burden of caring for people with costly pre-existing conditions. That unfair burden of cost-shifting is the main reason premiums and deductibles have been rising so rapidly.
Although some low-income people have received credits to help pay those rising premiums, millions of self-employed and other middle-class people are not eligible for any subsidy. About 8 million Americans have been hit with Obamacare penalties despite the lack of affordable insurance.
The unaffordability of Obamacare has not affected…