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Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Medical | By Garry George

Trump Administration Moves To Further Hobble Affordable Care Act

Trump Administration Moves To Further Hobble Affordable Care Act

They included provisions establishing health insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid coverage and subsidizing premiums for lower-income people.

Becerras pledge came in response to an announcement from the administration Thursday that it would not defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act in court. Supreme Court ruled that opponents of the ACA individual coverage mandate could not win a preliminary injunction blocking the mandate, because the ACA individual mandate was a tax, and a federal law prohibits parties from seeking preliminary injunctions to block new federal taxes.

The brief was filed in Texas v. Azar, a case brought in February by Texas and 19 other Republican-led states.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision.

"The pre-existing condition thing is what the ads will be run on", said Blendon.

The Trump administration delivered an early midterms present to Democrats Thursday night when the Justice Department chose to side with 20 GOP states in a lawsuit seeking to gut the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions.

The mandate in Obamacare was meant to ensure a viable health-insurance market by forcing younger, healthier Americans to buy coverage.

Linda Muller, president and CEO of Cornerstone Healthcare, the mid-Hudson's largest low-income health provider, said it would be disastrous if "an entire class of individuals with pre-existing conditions are targeted" by a federal decision not to support them.

SIMON: What other parts of the ACA does the Department of Justice single out in the lawsuit?

"The DOJ agrees with Texas that the individual mandate is unconstitutional once the tax penalty was zeroed out, and if it is struck down, the guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions go with it", said Jost. The administration decided its "dislike for the Affordable Care Act outweighed its respect for the rule of law".

This question of statutory interpretation does not involve the ACA's constitutionality and therefore does not implicate the Department's general practice of defending the constitutionality of federal law. "Congress in 2010 may have thought that a mandate may have been an essential component of the ACA, but a subsequent Congress indicated otherwise by eliminating the penalty without altering the other parts of the law".

Moreover, if the Trump administration did not want to defend the ACA expressly, it could simply have filed a jurisdictional motion, asserting that the states are not injured by the lack of an individual mandate penalty and that the litigation is not yet timely, as the tax is still in effect.

On Thursday, the Trump administration further roiled the debate by stating in court that it would not defend one of the law's most popular provisions, which forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to customers with preexisting conditions or charging them more.

The Democrats further raised concerns that even if the Justice Department's arguments are unsuccessful, the administration's move could still "raise the cost of health care for most Americans, undermine the economy and weaken our democracy for years to come".

Some Democratic politicians didn't waste much time. "These are people who defend programs they disagree with all the time".

Crucially, President Barack Obama's Department of Justice relied on this argument in trying to convince the Supreme Court to uphold the individual mandate. "The Trump Administration is perpetuating the same cruel vision of higher costs and less coverage that House Republicans voted for in the monstrosity of Trumpcare". However, if the federal court sides with the plaintiffs, those with pre-existing conditions could once again be denied coverage.

"You've got very sympathetic populations that are affected by those conditions so to somehow adversely affect them is not a politically wise move", said Representative Tom Reed, a New York Republican, signaling opposition to the administration's decision.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions told congressional leaders in a letter about the Justice Department's stance in the case, and said it had been approved by President Donald Trump.

"Texans have known all along that Obamacare is unlawful and a divided Supreme Court's approval rested exclusively on the flimsy support of Congress's authority to tax", said Paxton when the suit was filed.

"Removing those provisions will result in renewed uncertainty in the individual market, create a patchwork of requirements in the states, cause rates to go even higher for older Americans and sicker patients, and make it challenging to introduce products and rates for 2019", the statement said.

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