Healthcare Changes

Hearing about this then pending executive order yesterday in the media, it sounded like a major change that would gut the Affordable Care Act. My reading of it is far less ominous, at least at this stage.

For example, this interesting phrase used three times in this order: “Within 60 (or 120) days of this order…shall consider proposing regulations or revising guidance…”.

This appears to me to be a very weak order. Just consider making changes? Far more bluster than action here.

The only clear result of this order will be a report to the president in 180 days and every two years thereafter.

Like so many other of this POTUS’ orders, this is for the optics. The pattern I have noticed is whenever the administration hypes up a soon-t0-be-signed executive order, it turns out to be an order to produce a report rather than any real action.

We shall have to wait and see just what changes are proposed by the various cabinet secretaries after the 60 or 120 days has past, before we can judge any serious impact on the healthcare insurance markets. That will be the middle of December and February.

Official Title and Link: Presidential Executive Order Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States

Executive order dated October 12, 2017


Five Actions September 29

A flurry of actions – signing of two memoranda, two executive orders, and one proclamation – on Friday closes out the month of September.

The first memorandum, to the Secretary of State, determines the total number of refugees allowed in Fiscal Year 2018. This is routine, although the number of “up to 45,000 refugees” seemed low, so I compared it with last year (signed by President Obama) and that was for “up to 110,000 refugees”. So, this year’s determination is significantly lower. I guess that is one way to limit Muslims from entering the country. [Ed. Note: I thought the timing of this decision was a bit strange until I remembered the Federal fiscal years are October 1 through September 30.]

The other memorandum is for the Secretary of State, Secretary of Treasury and Director of National Intelligence and is a routine delegation of responsibility.

One executive order is routine continuance of certain Federal advisory committees, and the other is a revocation of a 2009 executive order that created Labor-Management advisory committees claiming they have failed to do what they were intended to do – increase collaboration in the Federal workforce.

The proclamation posted here is self-explanatory.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda, executive orders and proclamation dated September 29, 2017

Invoking Defense Protection Act

The administration has determined the named corporate transaction to be detrimental to national security and therefore issued this executive order to block the sale of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation.

Without digging more into this deal, it sounds reasonable to me to block this transaction.

Official Title and Link: Order Regarding the Proposed Acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation by China Venture Capital Fund Corporation Limited

Executive Order dated September 13, 2017

Police Equipment

Fairly widely reported as being in the works, yesterday the official executive order to rescind an Obama order was posted. In a nutshell, this again allows police departments access to surplus military equipment. In my view, this is dangerous. Already law enforcement agencies are too militarized and, in several cases, are trying to change the culture to return to the community policing model that is far more effective. This action will make it more difficult to change police culture.

Official Title and Link: Presidential Executive Order on Restoring State, Tribal, and Local Law Enforcement’s Access to Life-Saving Equipment and Resources

Executive order dated August 28, 2017

News Dump Actions

Yesterday several actions were posted late in the day – a classic example of releasing potentially controversial decisions/actions late on Friday in hopes the media will be otherwise distracted and the story will die over the weekend. It didn’t work this time, and I dare say in the contemporary world of instant communication with heightened media attention on this president, it probably never will again. In fact, I think the modern media have come to anticipate and expect bombshells at the end of the work week and many of the stories actually tend to dominate the weekend news cycles.

Even though hurricane Harvey was definitely the lead story in the news at the time, numerous reports of these presidential actions appeared in the media shortly after they were posted.

One other highly controversial action was taken by POTUS 45 that also led many breaking news bulletins – the pardon of former Sheriff Arpaio of Mesa, AZ. So far, I have not been able to find anything on the official website about this, not even a press release.

Of those posted, the first two were about Venezuela sanctions – a letter to Congress and the executive order itself. The order on the sanctions is an expansion of a 2015 order regarding Venezuela. The sanctions include not importing of Venezuelan oil. [Ed. Note: I saw one report that POTUS 45 has exempted an American oil company he has ties to from this sanction.]

The third action almost made me laugh because it is so contrary to the normal behavior of this man. It is the routine proclamation of August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in honor of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (Women’s Right to Vote) on that date in 1920.

And, the fourth action was the highly anticipated announcement about transgender individuals and service in the military. I find this to be a particularly unnecessary and discriminatory action. The ACLU has already announced their intent to sue and most likely will prevail on equality of opportunity grounds.

None of these five actions are insignificant, but the pardon is also quite disturbing because it effectively condones racism as well as defiance of constitutional authority of the courts. Unfortunately, it is not at all surprising, but that does not make is less worrisome for the future of our democratic republic. Pardoning someone convicted of contempt of court actions, in my opinion, is abuse of the executive power of the pardon. I intend to contact my senator – Grassley – who chairs the Judiciary Committee to urge him to open an investigation on this abuse of power.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda, Proclamation and Executive Order posted August 25, 2017

Two Actions August 15

Yesterday two official actions were taken by POTUS 45. One was a routine continuation of past actions dating to 2001 and the other was an executive order regarding infrastructure. The latter was to be the focus of his press conference and intended to be the story that dominated the news cycle.

That did not happen because he “went rogue” and proved again who he really is.

Official Titles and Links:

Memorandum and Executive Order dated August 15, 2017