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On September 24, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order outlining his “America First Healthcare Plan”—his proposal to reshape the nation’s healthcare system. With election day fast approaching and a pending legal challenge before the Supreme Court seeking to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, the Order touts the Administration’s ongoing regulatory efforts and outlines the three pillars of President Trump’s plan: more choice, lower costs, and better care.  

In particular, the Order:

  • Purports to make it the policy of the United States to ensure coverage of individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with Congress to reach a legislative solution to end surprise billing/ensure consumers have access to meaningful price and quality information prior to the delivery of care by December 31, 2020. If Congress does not reach such a solution, requires HHS to take action to prevent surprise billing for patient’s out-of-pocket expenses that could not be “reasonably foreseen.”
  • Requires HHS—in coordination with other agencies—to maintain and build upon existing actions to (1) expand access to/options for affordable health care and affordable medicines; (2) reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in the healthcare system; and (3) improve delivery of care to veterans.
  • Directs HHS to continue to promote medical innovations to fight COVID-19, Alzheimer’s disease, sickle cell disease, pediatric cancer, etc.

The Executive Order has no immediate effect and is entirely reliant on the agencies—led by HHS—to engage with Congress and/or continue their ongoing regulatory efforts. As such, short of providing President Trump’s vision for the future of the American healthcare system, it is unclear what effect the Executive Order ultimately will have.

As we inch closer to the election, it is possible that we will continue to see an influx of regulatory actions seeking to formalize President Trump’s executive orders on healthcare.

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