President Donald Trump Jan. 20 signed an executive order giving the administration and agencies the ability to make changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “to the maximum extent permitted by law” without legislation from Congress. Intended to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens of the Act,” the executive order gives federal agencies the authority and discretion to “waive, defer, or grant exemptions from, or delay any provision or requirement of the ACA that would impose a fiscal burden on a State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden.” The order does not specify precise changes to the ACA and, to date, it is unclear how the agency will implement the order.
The administration Jan. 20 also issued a memorandum to federal agencies imposing a freeze on all new and pending regulations. Until further notice, no new regulations are to be submitted to the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Unpublished regulations currently at the OFR have been withdrawn. Finally, regulations published in the Federal Register that have not taken effect will have the effective date postponed by 60 days. Similar to the memorandum issued by President Obama in 2009, this memorandum is intended to allow the new administration time to review pending actions.