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Trump vows to use 'power of the pen' on healthcare after congressional inaction

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Trump vows to use 'power of the pen' on healthcare after congressional inaction

President Donald Trump confirmed reports he would soon use his "power of the pen" to take executive action on healthcare after Congress has been unable to fulfill his campaign pledge of repealing the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.

"Since Congress can't get its act together on HealthCare, I will be using the power of the pen to give great HealthCare to many people — FAST," Trump said in an Oct. 10 morning tweet.

He did not provide details about what types of action he would take or how soon he would sign any executive orders. The White House did not have anything on its planned schedule, noting Trump would be signing any such healthcare orders Oct. 10.

The Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 7 that Trump planned to take matters into his own hands by soon issuing an executive order to make it easier for Americans to buy insurance through "association health plans" — an idea House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has backed — as well as lift restrictions on short-term medical insurance and expand health reimbursement accounts.

Trump acknowledged in an Oct. 7 morning tweet he had reached out to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the night before, seeking a deal on healthcare reform.

On NBC's "Meet the Press" Oct. 8, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said Trump's new willingness to work with Democrats on healthcare was more about reminding Republicans they have not kept their promise to repeal the ACA.

Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and Patty Murray, D-Wash., the panel's ranking member, are working on a deal aimed at passing some short-term fixes to the ACA.

Senate leaders sidelined the Alexander-Murray effort in September in favor of trying one more time to repeal the ACA with a bill sponsored by four Republicans — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Dean Heller of Nevada and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

But Alexander and Murray resumed their negotiations after the Graham-Cassidy group determined they did not have enough votes to pass their bill.

Senate aides told S&P Global Market Intelligence that Alexander and Murray would not disclose the details of their deal until they were assured significant support for it from both sides of the aisle.