Donald Trump almost forgot to sign his executive order aimed at unravelling parts of Obamacare.
In the White House's Roosevelt Room, after giving a few remarks, the US leader thanked everyone for attending the signing ceremony. He then appeared to head for the exit, without having done what healthcare executives had been gathered to watch: him actually sign the document.
But Vice President Mike Pence grabbed Mr Trump by the shoulder and reminded him he still needed to sign the order.
Mr Trump turned back around and made light of the situation: “I’m only signing it because it costs nothing.” He then took his seat before signing the document.
“Congratulations to everybody,” he said to the room filled with a dozen healthcare and business executives and a few members of Congress.
Mr Trump has directed three cabinet agencies to develop rules that would expand access to less expensive, less comprehensive insurance with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers than those mandated under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
The President has said the Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury Department, and the Department of Labor will work “to increase competition, increase choice, and increase access to lower-priced, high-quality healthcare options.”
“This will cost the United States government virtually nothing, and people will have great, great healthcare,” Mr Trump said.
But opponents have said the order will lead to more expensive insurance for seniors and those with preexisting conditions.
Most of the changes to the current system will not come until federal agencies adopt regulations, after giving the public an opportunity to make comments – a process that could take months.
Frustrated by the failure of a Republican-controlled Congress to repeal and replace Obamacare, Mr Trump issued the order as part of an effort to unravel the 2010 law without action by legislators.
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