Jan 21, 2017

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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33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

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Wall Street falls into correction territory as coronavirus rout intensifies

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The S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all entered correction territory on Thursday, down 10% from their recent record highs amid a global market rout that began earlier this week.

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Watchdog opens probe into VA secretary over handling of sexual assault claim

VA Secretary Robert Wilkie on Fox Business Network’s "The Evening Edit" on Jan. 7. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Michael Missal said Thursday he had opened an investigation into VA Secretary Robert Wilkie after lawmakers demanded an inquiry into his handling of a sexual misconduct report, the Washington Post reports.

Context: Wilkie allegedly "worked to discredit" the credibility of Democratic aide and veteran Andrea Goldstein after she reported last fall "that a man groped and propositioned her in the main lobby of the agency's D.C. Medical Center," a senior VA official told the Post.