• By The Financial District


When President Donald Trump finally unveiled his long-anticipated health care “plan” on Thursday, it turned out to be comprised of only two toothless executive orders, with journalists and politicians quick to point out that the pair of orders did not actually compromise a “plan” but were merely “requests for legislation.”

Trump, who repeatedly failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act despite years of promises, claimed on Thursday that “Obamacare is no longer Obamacare” after Republicans tossed the individual mandate penalty. He made the comment while rolling out his “America First Health Plan,” which The Washington Post noted was not actually a “plan,” Igor Derysh wrote for Salon.

The first executive order declares protecting patients with pre-existing conditions to be the “policy” of the US. But protections for pre-existing conditions were previously enshrined into law through Obamacare, legislation which the Trump administration is currently pushing to overturn in court after failing to do so in Congress. The other executive order directs Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to explore ways to address surprise medical bills if Congress does not act by Jan. 1.

Julie Rovner, the chief Washington correspondent at Kaiser Health News, pointed out that Trump’s executive order would do nothing if the Obamacare lawsuit backed by his administration succeeds. “This. Requires. Legislation,” she tweeted. The health care news outlet Stat News described Trump’s speech as “empty rhetoric,” which would neither improve the quality of Americans’ health care nor lower its cost. “The speech and executive order stood as a tacit admission that Trump had failed to keep his 2016 promise to replace his predecessor’s signature achievement with a conservative alternative,” Washington Post reporter Toluse Olorunnipa wrote. “Unable to repeal the law, Trump appeared open to simply rebranding it.”

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