Trump officials issue new rule aimed at expanding health choices for small businesses

Trump officials issue new rule aimed at expanding health choices for small businesses
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The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a rule aimed at expanding health insurance options for small businesses and others, the latest action stemming from President TrumpDonald John TrumpJimmy Carter: 'I hope there's an age limit' on presidency White House fires DHS general counsel: report Trump to cap California trip with visit to the border MORE’s health care executive order in 2017.

The White House framed the move as part of its efforts to expand health care choices for people now that efforts to repeal ObamaCare have come up short.

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This new rule gives businesses a better way to offer health insurance to employees and allows workers to select coverage that best fits their and their families’ needs,” Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinBipartisan housing finance reform on the road less taken Trump at a pivotal crossroads on Iran Overnight Defense: Trump says he doesn't want war with Iran | Pentagon chief calls attack on Saudi oil facilities 'unprecedented' | Administration weighs response | 17th US service member killed in Afghanistan this year MORE said in a statement.

The rule allows employers to use tax-exempted funds, known as health reimbursement arrangements, to give to workers for purchasing coverage in the individual market.

Brian Blase, a White House health care adviser, told reporters the move would "particularly benefit smaller employers ... by creating another option for financing worker health insurance coverage.”

This action is less controversial than other Trump administration health care moves that have stemmed from the president’s 2017 executive order.

Previous administration actions have included expanding short-term health insurance plans that are cheaper but that do not need to cover people with pre-existing conditions, a move that led Democrats to blast the plans as "junk plans."

“President Trump has promised Americans that he will put them in control of their healthcare, and this expansion of health reimbursement arrangements will help deliver on that promise by providing Americans with more options that better meet their needs,” Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Thursday.