How does Trump's health care executive order affect Arizonans?

President Trump signed an executive order that could undermine key Obamacare provisions. 12 News reporter Joe Dana looks at how that could impact Arizonans.

With a swipe of his pen Thursday, President Trump took a swing at Obamacare, signing an executive order to roll back some of the key provisions of the health care law.

So how does Arizona stand to benefit?

The president promised the health insurance market will have more options and better plans, but that may not be the case for Arizonans.

The executive order loosens the requirements of insurance plans offered by employers.

The plan would expand access to cheaper, less comprehensive insurance plans and give trade groups and businesses more flexibility to bundle insurance plans for their employees. Many in the business community applauded the president's action today, seeing it as the best chance to provide more affordable insurance to their members. Among those on board are the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Restaurant Association.

Other consumer groups and some nonprofits oppose the order, saying it will create more inequality and lead to so-called "junk insurance" plans that Obamacare was created to prevent.

"Today's executive order jeopardizes the ability of millions of cancer patients, survivors and those at risk for the disease from being able to access or afford meaningful health insurance," the American Cancer Society said in a statement.

So how will Arizona's marketplace be impacted?

The Arizona Department of Insurance said that whatever impact there may be, officials don't believe it will happen until 2019.

We reached out to Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat. She says more information is needed on how this could help or hurt Arizonans:

“Hardworking Arizonans deserve access to affordable healthcare. That’s why we’re leading the effort to pass bipartisan fixes like repealing the Heath Insurance Tax.

“Healthcare reform deserves and requires serious, thoughtful solutions that last the test of time. An executive order alone is not the answer, and we need more information about how this order will be implemented before we fully understand how it will help or hurt Arizonans.

“It’s time for the administration and members of Congress to put aside their differences, roll up their sleeves, and work together to come up with real solutions that deliver quality, affordable healthcare for hardworking Arizona families.”

 Republican Sen. Jeff Flake told 12 News he's glad to see the executive order, calling it an example of applying market principles to health care, saying it will create more competition:

“I haven’t been able to delve very deep to see what’s likely to make a big change in the short term but a lot of us have felt if we could apply market principles to healthcare we could lower the price. Being able to purchase across state lines will certainly do that in the long term. I just don’t know how quickly it will happen.”

It's simply too early to tell.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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