The executive order signed in the Oval Office is designed "to ease the burden of Obamacare as we transition from repeal and replace," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.
The executive order also directs the secretary of health and human services and the heads of other agencies to use their discretion to help individuals, health care providers, insurers and others avoid any burdens stemming from the Affordable Care Act, which remains in effect.
White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus also sent a memorandum to federal agencies directing them to freeze any new or pending regulations.
**Below is the full text:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 20, 2017
- - - - - - -
MINIMIZING THE ECONOMIC BURDEN OF THE PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT PENDING REPEAL
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. It is the policy of my Administration to seek the prompt repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Public Law 111-148), as amended (the "Act"). In the meantime, pending such repeal, it is imperative for the executive branch to ensure that the law is being efficiently implemented, take all actions consistent with law to minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act, and prepare to afford the States more flexibility and control to create a more free and open healthcare market.
Sec. 2. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (Secretary) and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies (agencies) with authorities and responsibilities under the Act shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act 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.
Sec. 3. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the Secretary and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies with authorities and responsibilities under the Act, shall exercise all authority and discretion available to them to provide greater flexibility to States and cooperate with them in implementing healthcare programs.
Sec. 4. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the head of each department or agency with responsibilities relating to healthcare or health insurance shall 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.
Sec. 5. To the extent that carrying out the directives in this order would require revision of regulations issued through notice-and-comment rulemaking, the heads of agencies shall comply with the Administrative Procedure Act and other
applicable statutes in considering or promulgating such regulatory revisions.
Sec. 6. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
January 20, 2017.
In addition to the presidential action on Obamacare, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus will also send out a memo to all government agencies and departments calling for a regulatory freeze, Spicer said.
Signal on Day One
With his signature, Trump sent a powerful signal on Day One of his presidency: His top priority in the Oval Office will be dismantling the Affordable Care Act, a law that covers some 20 million Americans.
The signing of the order also highlighted how deeply divisive Obamacare remains seven years after its inception: passing a health care reform bill was one of President Barack Obama's first priorities when he took office in 2009; overhauling it is now an urgent mission of Obama's successor.
Trump also signed papers confirming the appointments of James Mattis as secretary of defense and John Kelly as secretary of homeland security.