Over the weekend I witnessed a sign that spring is on the way that is more trustworthy than any groundhog in PA. Dads and sons were practicing on the baseball field.
What does this mean? It means two things to me.
Personally, I am not a huge fan of cold weather. I know that some people, including my wife, like the cold but one of the reasons that I live in south Texas is because winters here are shorter and not as severe as the ones I grew up with.
Professionally, this spring promises many changes in health insurance. Already, several have happened in DC and more are expected.
- On January 20, the first thing that Donald Trump did as president was instruct federal employees at HHS, CMS and IRS to no longer prosecute any penalties associated with health insurance. That is the most that he can do with Executive Orders.
- On February 9, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price, was confirmed by the senate. The Secretary of HHS is technically the most powerful single individual in health insurance in the United States. In 2010 congress, through the Patients Protection And Affordable Care Act (PPACA), gave unprecedented power to that individual. The most common phrase in the PPACA is, “The Secretary shall…” While the intent of the PPACA was for a congress, who was controlled by a Democratic majority in both houses, to give almost dictatorial power to a Democratic president, the opposite is true today. Today both houses of congress are controlled by Republicans and a Republican president controls the Secretary of HHS. As Tom Price settles into his new office, he is able to write new “rules” for health insurance.
- There are still a few issues with “Obamacare” that can only be changed by an act of congress. For example, Tom Price has the ability to grant a blanket exemption from the Individual Mandate for every citizen of the United States, but only congress can repeal that portion of the law. The previous president was adamant that he would veto any congressional attempts to make changes to the law. In fact he was down-right hostile to any suggestions that there could be a better solution to the crisis he created. The new president is more open to the idea of replacing “Obamacare” with a plan that works for everyone, and not just for a special interest group.
It is likely that as winter turns into spring, more of the “Obamacare” rules will melt away but it could take most of the year for the actual law to be repealed and replaced, or repaired.
Sorry, our insurance licensing is only good or the State of Texas. If you live elsewhere, we are not qualified to help you. Our suggestion is for you to find a health insurance professional who is committed to staying current with health insurance rules and regulations as they apply in your state.
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