President Donald Trump signed an executive order to weaken the Obamacare law and make it easier for Americans to buy bare-bones health insurance plans. Fred Katayama reports.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to weaken Obamacare. (SOUNDBITE) DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES (ENGLISH) SAYING: "It directs the Department of Health and Human services, the Treasury, and the Department of Labor to take action to increase competition, increase choice, and increase access to lower-priced, high quality healthcare options." Trump's order offers more access to bare-bones plans that do not cover essential health benefits, such as maternity, prescription drugs, and mental health. It also allows small businesses to band together as associations to buy cheaper, less regulated health plans with fewer benefits. Brookings Institution's Matthew Fiedler. (SOUNDBITE) MATTHEW FIEDLER, FELLOW, ECONOMIC STUDIES, CENTER FOR HEALTH POLICY, SCHAEFFER INITIATIVE FOR INNOVATION IN HEALTH POLICY, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If you are one of those healthier people who shifts into the parallel market created under this proposal, you may pay less, though you'll generally get worse coverage in terms of the types of benefits that are covered and the amount of protection that you have against the very high out of pocket cost. But, you know, like everything in healthcare policy the healthier people that are switching out of the existing market come at a cost to the people with serious healthcare needs who depend on the market that exists today." Fiedler says the executive order is another step to weaken Obamacare. Trump has not committed to making payments to insurers guaranteed under the legislation. He also halved the open enrollment period, and slashed the Obamacare advertising and outreach budget. His own healthcare legislation failed to pass in Congress.