The president signed the order that directs federal agencies to examine regulations that would make it easier for people to band together to get "association health plans" and buy more short-term insurance.
Democrats quickly criticized the order as a back door to attack protections for people with pre-existing conditions and increase "junk" insurance plans.
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said in a series of tweets that the order could create more "junk" insurance plans since it could lead to bypassing pre-existing condition protections on the individual market.
The order directs federal agencies to make it easier for small businesses to group together to form association health plans, with the idea that they could increase their purchasing power.
Democrats warned that letting individuals buy association health plans would undermine those protections and lead to the collapse of the individual market.