US President Donald Trump hands Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (R) an executive order that directs agencies to ease the burden of Obamacare, after signing it in the Oval Office in Washington, US, on January 20, 2017. —Reuters 21 Jan 2017 | 11:33 AM
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump directed government agencies on Saturday to freeze regulations and take steps to weaken Obamacare, using his first hours in the White House to make good on a campaign promise to start dismantling his predecessor's healthcare law.[ + read story ]
Washington, January 20
President Donald Trump directed government agencies on Saturday to freeze regulations and take steps to weaken Obamacare, using his first hours in the White House to make good on a campaign promise to start dismantling his predecessor's healthcare law.
(Follow The Tribune on Facebook; and Twitter @thetribunechd)
Heading into the Oval Office shortly after the conclusion of his inaugural parade, Trump signed an order on the Affordable Care Act that urged government departments to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation" of provisions that imposed fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals.
It also called for efforts to give states greater flexibility in implementing healthcare programs while developing "a free and open market in interstate commerce for the offering of healthcare services and health insurance." Health experts had speculated that Trump could expand exemptions from the so-called individual mandate, which requires Americans to carry insurance or face a penalty, or the requirement that employers offer coverage.
Experts also believe the administration could try to reduce the "essential benefits," such as maternity care and mental health services, which insurance plans must cover.
The White House did not provide further details about the executive order.
Trump's spokesman Sean Spicer said the White House also directed an immediate regulatory freeze for all government agencies in a memo from Trump's chief of staff, Reince Priebus.
He did not offer details.
Repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, one of former President Barack Obama's signature laws, was a central pledge for Trump during the presidential election campaign.
Republicans in the US Congress have not yet laid out a plan to recast the insurance program.
In a hastily arranged ceremony, surrounded by some of his aides, Trump sat behind the presidential Resolute Desk and signed the order. He also signed commissions for his newly confirmed defense secretary, James Mattis, and his homeland security secretary, John Kelly.
Trump spoke briefly about his day with reporters. "It was busy, but good. It was a beautiful day," he said.
Vice-President Mike Pence then swore in Mattis and Kelly in a separate ceremony.
There were other signs of change in the Oval Office, which Obama vacated on Friday morning. Golden drapes hung where crimson ones had earlier in the day and new furniture dotted the room.
21 Jan 2017 | 1:34 PM
PESHAWAR: At least 20 people were killed and over 50 others injured on Saturday in a powerful blast at a crowded vegetable market in northwest Pakistan’s restive Kurram Agency, officials said.
21 Jan 2017 | 9:29 AM
NEW DELHI: A day after the Centre cleared the jallikattu ordinance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday said all efforts are being made to fulfil the cultural aspirations of the people of Tamil Nadu.
21 Jan 2017 | 12:25 PM
WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump has thanked his defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and former president Bill Clinton for attending his inauguration.
21 Jan 2017 | 12:28 PM
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's two parliamentary committees in rare joint resolution asked India to immediately suspend work on two hydropower projects in Jammu and Kashmir and agree on the constitution of an arbitration court to resolve the water dispute.
21 Jan 2017 | 12:36 PM
MORIGAON: A junior engineer in Assam’s Nagaon district was allegedly made to apologise by touching the feet of a BJP MLA for removing the legislator’s car.
Punjab elections21 Jan 2017 | 9:44 AM
As the sun plays hide-and-seek with clouds on a wintry day, we set off on our journey to assess the mood of the people with election to the state Assembly just two weeks away.
21 Jan 2017 | 2:32 AM
PATIALA:A local court today ordered Rs 49-lakh compensation for Kirpal Singh, a key witness in the Jaswant Singh Khalra kidnapping and murder case, who was framed in a false rape case but was acquitted in 2007.
21 Jan 2017 | 12:50 PM
LUDHIANA:A Class VIII student allegedly killed an eight-year-old boy, chopped his body into pieces and "devoured" human flesh. The sheer savagery of the crime has left the police stunned.