Photo of President Trump at a podium with old white men in suits.
Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

While on the campaign trail, then-candidate Donald Trump promised to “build a wall and “lock up” his opponent Hillary Clinton. He also promised he would “repeal and replace” Obamacare with “something terrific.”

After only 20 months, it would be unfair to blame the failure to repeal Obamacare solely on Trump. He has been determined to keep his promise. However, many members in the Republican Party failed him by refusing to do what got them elected, which was to repeal and replace Obamacare. Many from the Never Trump faction still harbor resentments from Trump’s scorched-earth campaign and would rather see this president fail than our nation succeed. No one will ever forget former Sen. John Mcain in his last despicable act to stick it to Trump: by giving a thumbs down vote that ensured Obamacare wouldn’t be repealed by this Congress anytime soon. 

Despite Congress’s inaction, President Trump decided to bypass their  incompetence  by using executive action to give Americans “something amazing.”   Trump has set in motion new regulations to promote “health care choice and competition across the United States.” These new rules will provide an estimated 800,000 businesses a better way of offering coverage to millions of workers through the expansion of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs).

Brian Blase, the special assistant to the president at the National Economic Council focused on health care policy, explained HRAs as employer-funded accounts that employees can use for medical expenses. Under Obamacare, HRAs couldn’t be used to pay for individual coverage. This impeded employers from shopping around for better coverage, which also limited employees’ choices. Under Trump’s new rule, both businesses and workers will have more freedom, instead of being forced to choose plans under Obamacare.  

Starting on the first day of 2020, employers will be able to offer their workers health reimbursement arrangements to buy coverage for them and their families. These new guidelines will reduce Obama-era restrictions on short-term health plans that don’t meet standards under Obamacare. These new regulations will allow small businesses to join with other employers to buy lightly regulated coverage called association health plans. The rule, issued on June 13, will give employers, particularly small businesses, more flexibility to steer tax-exempt dollars to employees for health care.

While this in no way repeals or replaces Obamacare with “something fabulous,” these new rules will allow individuals that rely on their health insurance when they get sick to spread the cost more effectively. Hopefully, these new guidelines will give healthier people the flexibility to buy coverage they need rather then forcing them to buy expensive coverage regardless if they need it or not.

I have personally had to shop around for health care because I did not like the restrictions Obamacare placed on my employer-sponsored health care. These new rules attempt to loosen some Obamacare restrictions for individuals and business owners, which is something I can get behind. But  the only way to truly repeal Obamacare and replace it with something terrific is for Congress to pass legislation.  

One of the reasons Trump was elected was because former President Barack Obama tried to end-run Congress by using executive orders. It would be preferable if both parties put aside their disagreements and found solutions to health care that don’t break the bank, while at the same time provided affordable health care to all Americans.

As a Republican, I get irritated by liberals when they accuse conservatives of not caring about the sick. The truth is liberals want feel-good, one-size-fits-all solutions that don’t address the complexity of health care such as “Medicaid for All,”  which can be translated to “Inadequate Health Care for All.” 

While these new rules won’t exactly repeal and replace Obamacare, which has been a disaster for business owners and thus negatively affects employees, Trump’s new rules  are a small step toward a freer health insurance system.  Some Conservatives will probably rail against this initiative as an expansion of Obamacare. But I believe taking small incremental steps to fix a broken system is better than holding out for the perfect solution.


Jeffery McNeil is a Street Sense Media artist and vendor who also contributes to the Washington Examiner.