That would be dismemberment.

As Congress seems unwilling to do anything about ObamaCare, other than raise money from credulous GOPers who still believe Mitch McConnell gives a rat’s ass about anything more substantial than keeping power, the Trump administration has started to take action to ensure that ObamaCare hurts as few people as possible as it fails. There seem to be two sets of acts underway: omission and commission. The omission first:

Via The Hill, Critics see Trump sabotage on Obamacare:

The Trump administration is taking a hatchet to ObamaCare after failing to pass legislation through Congress repealing President Obama’s signature law.

The administration has cut funding for advertising and outreach by 90 percent, raising the odds that fewer people will join the health-care exchanges during the fall enrollment period.

It has slashed funds by 41 percent for outside groups that help reach and enroll likely ObamaCare consumers.

The enrollment period has also been chopped in half, and the administration announced plans to take down the Healthcare.gov website for maintenance for hours at a time on several days during the sign-up period, two other steps likely to cut into enrollment.

The administration has also resisted efforts by some states, even conservative ones, to make changes aimed at stabilizing ObamaCare.

And the acts of commission area featured by the Wall Street Journal in Trump to Sign Order Easing Health Plan Rules, Official Says:

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order next week to start lifting some insurance rules set by his predecessor’s Affordable Care Act in the aftermath of the failed Republican bid to repeal the law, a senior administration official said Saturday.

The order is aimed at expanding insurance options for Americans who buy coverage on their own or work for a small employer, and would include broad instructions for agencies to explore ways to loosen regulations and potentially lower premiums, as well as looking at three specific areas of health insurance. It has been anticipated by industry officials and political observers in the days since the GOP repeal effort crashed.

Mr. Trump will order three agencies, the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury, to take steps to make it easier for people to band together and buy insurance through “association health plans,” the official said.

Such plans would in some ways be like large employer’s health plans, subject to some restrictions set by the Affordable Care Act, including a ban on lifetime limits. But they would be free of other regulations, including the requirement that insurance plans cover a set package of benefits. These plans are popular with conservatives; some insurers fear that associations would peel off healthier and younger individuals and leave traditional insurance plans to cover sicker and older customers.

The president also will order the agencies to start winding back an Obama-era rule curbing coverage known as “short-term medical insurance,” a low-cost but limited-protection option, and allow people to once again buy those plans for up to a year, the official said.

The Obama administration banned the sale of those plans that offered coverage for more than 90 days, arguing they were inadequate for people’s needs. Some industry officials have pressed the administration to restore them, saying that when marketed honestly they can fit the needs of particular consumers currently priced out of buying the more generous coverage available as a result of the 2010 health-care overhaul.

In addition, the executive order would order agencies to expand health reimbursement accounts, employer-funded arrangements that employees can use to pay out-of-pocket medical costs and premiums. Obama-era guidance from 2013 had prevented pretax employer dollars in the arrangements from being used to buy health insurance on the individual market.

The three moves would represent the most substantive step the White House has taken to date in paring back Affordable Care Act rules using administrative powers. They don’t go as far as many critics of the law would like but are likely to be followed by other steps, administration officials said.

This is not the way ObamaCare should be ended but because the Senate Republican caucus is salted with people like John McCain who lied through their teeth for eight years over their intentions the only viable way to end this travesty is to make it fail so Congress has to act. (Here you have nearly 6:30 of McCain promising to “repeal and replace” Obamacare and yet he voted Democrat when it came time to act.)

That this might be the strategy should not be news. Just after the first repeal effort cratered this is what Trump had to say:

For seven years, I’ve been hearing repeal and replace from Congress. I’ve been hearing it loud and strong, and when we finally get a chance to repeal and replace, they don’t take advantage of it. So that’s disappointing. Let Obamacare fail. It’ll be a lot easier, and I think we’re probably in that position where we’ll just let Obamacare fail. We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it.

That looks to be just the direction we are going.

Tags: obamacare