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Trump signs executive orders on Obamacare, freezes on new or pending regulations

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WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed an executive order Friday night “to ease the burden of Obamacare as we transition from repeal and replace,” White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters.

Trump also signed papers confirming the appointments of James Mattis as secretary of defense and John Kelly as secretary of homeland security, Spicer said.

White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memorandum Friday night to all executive departments and agencies to freeze new or pending regulations — giving the new administration time to review them.

The action is a fairly standard move for a new administration taking over from the other party. It effectively halts any lingering policies from the Obama administration before they can be finalized.

The move also gives President Donald Trump the ability to declare an immediate impact on the regulations that Republicans have long slammed as burdensome on businesses — a major promise of his administration.

Still, to roll back any number of the regulations that were finalized in the eight years that Barack Obama was president, Trump will need an act of Congress or will need his agencies to begin the regulatory process from scratch.

Federal regulations go through a multi-step process in order to take full effect. The President cannot halt any regulations that have gone into effect already, but lays out steps for any that are not fully in action.

For any regulations that have yet to be sent for publishing in the Federal Register, the memo asks the agency to not send any regulation to the Federal Register until reviewed by someone selected by the President.

For those that have been sent but not published, the White House ordered the regulations withdrawn.

There are regulations have been published but have not reached their effective date. The memo instructs those regulations to be delayed for 60 days for review — with a potential that a new notice for reopening the regulation could occur.

The memo makes an exception for “critical health, safety, financial, or national security matters,” and asks agencies to identify any regulations that can’t be delayed for other reasons.

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 20, 2017

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

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

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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.

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