This Trump executive order causes a lot of conflicting feelings in the minds of conservatives. On one hand, he has taken a shot at the liberty-stealing, dead weight on the American economy, Obamacare. On the other, it sounds like he may have overexerted his power in this executive order, which causes concern for the liberty-minded individual.
There are three key things to look at:
- What part of Obamacare does this executive order attack?
- Is what he did unconstitutional?
- What is the cost-benefit of this action?
What part of Obamacare does this executive order attack?
So, with Trump taking action against Obamacare, in an attempt to offer more options, there is bound to be hysteria from the left. Chuck Schumer was quoted saying that Trump is “using a wrecking ball to singlehandedly rip apart & sabotage our healthcare system.” What is really inside this “wrecking ball?”
Well, it asks the Labor Department to find out ways to make it easier for small businesses and individuals to join together and create or buy into nationwide association health plans. It could open up state lines, allowing employers in the same industry to offer group coverage that is not restricted by state lines. Lastly, it would allow customers to buy short-term policies that are not subject to the pre-existing condition regulations, and allow employers to give their employees money to use in health reimbursement programs.
Each of these actions are a step in the right direction in reforming health care. By offering more choices, competition will take place, lowering costs while improving quality. The other key is that it returns power to people to make their own decisions about their health care. By opening up state lines and going after the pre-existing conditions regulations, Trump is in fact pushing back at the most intrusive parts of the government power.
Is this unconstitutional?
This is the part that can be tough to navigate for conservatives. The rule of law and following the Constitution are key parts of conservatism. Executive orders can be used constitutionally, but they must not be contradictory to the legislation passed by Congress.
The wording on this order seems as though Trump has asked his Labor Department to find ways to make these solutions comply with the law, basically by finding loopholes. This would be allowable because it is the president’s job to execute the laws passed by Congress, and if he can find leeway in the law to do these things, then it would be fine.
What is dangerous is if that is not the case. If Trump is simply ignoring the Obamacare regulations and doing what he wants, he is in effect doing the same things Obama did with immigration and global warming initiatives through executive order. Conservatives are in danger of valuing partisanship when they should be upholding their principles. Instead, conservatives should let lawyers look at the order and determine what it is and how it will mobilize these initiatives and judge it from there.
What a is the cost-benefit of this action?
If it sticks, Trump will be able to say that he has “repealed Obamacare.” This will be a political tool to help him in the midterms. He can also use this as a club to hit his establishment Republican opposition. By claiming the repeal of Obamacare, he can claim a win that took him nine months, when the Congress couldn’t do it after eight years.
This can also be a way of showing the American public that, despite rolling back some of Obamacare, people aren’t dying in the streets. This would help some of the conservatives in split districts to back Obamacare repeal by citing the success of this rollback, assuming it finds success.
The cost of this is that Trump could have this held up in the courts like his immigration suspension (often called the travel ban), costing him tremendous political capitol. The other danger is that conservatives in Congress or Trump think this is enough and stop here, which poses the biggest threat. If this is all the action his administration takes against Obamacare, conservatives will have missed an opportunity to deliver on an eight-year promise that would change millions and millions of American lives for the better.
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