Did Donald Trump Just Gut ObamaCare?

One of the first things President Trump did today was sign an Executive Order directing all federal agencies to minimize the impact of ObamaCare on Americans:

President Trump on Friday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to “ease the burden of ObamaCare.”

Trump signed the order in front of reporters at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, one of his first official acts as president.

The order did not direct any specific actions, but instead gave broad authority to the Department of Health and Human Services and other agencies to take actions available to them under the law to ease regulatory requirements from ObamaCare.

I didn’t know what to make of it but the Washington Post is hitting the panic button… so it must either be very good or #FakeNews:

President Trump signed an executive order late Friday giving federal agencies broad powers to unwind regulations created under the Affordable Care Act, including enforcement of the penalty for people who fail to carry the health insurance that the law requires of most Americans.

The executive order, signed in the Oval Office as one of the new president’s first actions, directs agencies to grant relief to all constituencies affected by the sprawling 2010 health-care law: consumers, insurers, hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, states and others. It does not describe specific federal rules to be softened or lifted, but it appears to give room for agencies to eliminate an array of ACA taxes and requirements.

The order, several paragraphs long, does not identify which of the many federal rules that exist under the ACA the new administration intends to rewrite or eliminate. In general, federal rules cannot be undone with a penstroke but require a new rule-making process to replace or delete them.

But in giving agencies permission to “waive, defer, grant exemptions from or delay” ACA rules, the order appears to create room for the Department of Health and Human Services to narrow or gut a set of medical benefits that the ACA compels insurers to include in health plans that they sell to individuals and small businesses.

The order does not mention Medicaid, but it says one of its goals is to “provide greater flexibility to States,” raising the question of whether the Trump HHS might try to loosen rules for states that have expanded the program for lower-income Americans, as the law allowed.

What it seems to mean is that Tom Price has just been given the authority to turn ObamaCare’s regulatory regime into a free fire zone. Once Price and his team arrive at HHS we’ll have a better idea of what it all means… assuming Mitch McConnell can actually be bothered to get Price confirmed.