The Trump administration took steps Wednesday intended to calm jittery insurance companies and make tax compliance with former President Barack Obama's health law less burdensome for some people.
But the changes could lead to policies with higher annual deductibles, according to the administration's own proposal. That seems to undercut President Donald Trump's assurance in a recent Washington Post interview that his plan would mean "lower numbers, much lower deductibles."
The moves announced separately by the Health and Human Services Department and the IRS don't amount to sweeping changes to the Affordable Care Act. That would fall to Congress, where Republicans are struggling to reach consensus over how to deliver on their promise to repeal and replace the health law. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is expected to present elements of a plan to GOP lawmakers Thursday morning.
But the administration actions do signal a change in direction. Recently confirmed HHS Secretary Tom Price called them "initial steps in advance of a broader effort to reverse the harmful effects of Obamacare." Premiums are up sharply this year, while many communities were left with just one insurer.