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ACA Executive Order Does Not Change Compliance

January 02, 2017

On Jan. 20, President Trump signed an executive order titled "Minimizing the Economic Burden of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act [ACA] Pending Repeal." This executive order is comprised of six sections, all of which are designed to provide instructions to the various agencies and service groups responsible for the ACA, pending repeal.

New Language
A particular section of the executive order instructs "the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the heads of all other executive departments and agencies with authorities and responsibilities under the Act [ACA] to 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 [ACA] that would impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, 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," to the maximum extent permitted by law. 

Compliance Still Necessary
While some might read this provision as saying ACA compliance can be stopped, that is not the case. The executive order does not provide authority to limit compliance with the current rules and regulations already implemented under the ACA. Therefore, until further authoritative guidance is issued, pending a repeal or other law change, it is important to maintain continuing compliance with the ACA at all levels. Employers are still required to offer affordable insurance or risk paying defined penalties. And, individuals are still required to have qualifying health insurance known as minimum essential coverage.