by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Donald Trump is making an ambitious move to build on a string of regulatory relief actions that “protect and improve” Medicare, the federal health care program that serves approximately 60 million senior and disabled persons.
The president’s executive order, issued Thursday, is yet another step following a roadmap that’s leading to better choices and lower costs for Medicare recipients and helping taxpayers by reducing federal spending. The order is primarily directed to the Health and Human Services Department, instructing the agency to undertake more administrative and regulatory measures to secure these policy goals.
Specifically, the president acted to provide Medicare beneficiaries with more “diverse and affordable” health plan choices in the Medicare Advantage program, Medicare’s system of competing private plans. Because of the order, health plans will have new regulatory flexibility to respond to customer demands for innovative benefit designs and to incorporate telehealth, which lets patients see their doctor using tools like internet video calls.
The order would also authorize several other changes improving the practice environment for doctors and helping seniors. The envisioned rule changes would also help relieve doctors and other medical professionals who are wrestling with growing paperwork burdens.