Saturday, January 21, 2017

News in American carnage

H/t McLean's Magazine, which has found out that American Carnage was a national tour by Megadeth and Slayer. Since it was ended successfully in 2010, the president may find he has some unexpected free time.

Donald Trump's Great Leap Forward
pending... 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.
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...
"The Trump administration declined," comments Margaret Hartmann dryly at New York Magazine, "to explain what that means..." but it sounds like an invitation to all the department and agency heads to to whatever the hell they want, as long as they're fairly confident it's legal, in regard to regulation under the ACA. "Surprise me!" suggests the president. If he doesn't like it, maybe he'll fire them in a subsequent episode.

Or maybe it's OK if they do nothing at all. There's not even anybody there at the moment (of 675 positions that have to be nominated by the president and voted on by the Senate, 30 names have thus far been submitted to the Senate and none voted on, Tom Levenson informs us). Perhaps his aim here is simply to say he did something, on "Day One", as promised, though not quite the thing he promised (to "ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare"), which may have seemed a little less relevant now that Congress seems to have decided not to do that, without waiting for him to ask, and made its own equally vague move last week (setting it up so that whatever it is they decide to do can be done as budget reconciliation and the Senate Democrats can't filibuster it, just as the ACA itself was passed by the Democratic majority in 2010), and he's delayed his own submission of a health plan until after his nominee for HHS secretary, Tom Price, is confirmed.

But I like the idea that he's inviting them all to go out and write regulations on their own initiative, leaving him free to focus on stopping this American carnage. Right now.

Update: Margot Sanger-Katz in the Times's Upshot section seems to agree that the order is largely bluff, and lays out some of the steps Trump might have taken if he really wanted to accomplish some major destruction. Of course for that purpose he would also have needed to know something about how the ACA works and its current legal status, or have someone on staff who did.

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