Jan 21, 2017 - Health

Obamacare executive order to HHS: Be flexible

Evan Vucci/AP

The executive order President Trump signed Friday night directs the Health and Human Services to give broad flexibility in implementing Obamacare, using sweeping language to suggest exemptions if the law presents a burden of just about any kind.

The key language, according to the text released by the White House: HHS would have to waive anything that would "impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healthcare services, purchasers of health insurance, or makers of medical devices, products, or medications."

HHS would also have to give states greater flexibility and "encourage the development of a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance, with the goal of achieving and preserving maximum options for patients and consumers."

Timothy Jost, an Obamacare expert who has researched possible executive actions, said the vagueness of the order isn't a surprise. "Executive orders are not used for issuing detailed guidance or to change laws, but rather to set agendas for administrative agencies," Jost said.

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