The Trump Administration Is Using a New Tactic to Dismantle Obamacare. What You Need to Know About It
11 June, 2018, 16:29
Late Thursday, the department said the health law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance will become unconstitutional next year and so will consumer protections forbidding insurers to deny coverage to sick customers or charge them more.
One Utah health advocacy group warned Friday that the move could have negative financial consequences for hundreds of thousands of Utahns with pre-existing health conditions. "We call upon the Administration to reverse this decision and defend the rights of our patients", Stewart said.
They further cast the administration's brief, which was filed in federal court Thursday, as an "attack" on both the rule of law and the stability of the United States' health care system.
While U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessionsargues that no reasonable arguments exist to defend Obamacare, California led a coalition of 15 states and D.C.to fight Texas's suit, saying the individual mandate has twice survived Supreme Court review and attempts by Congress to repeal the law, thus legitimizing it. Stripping away Obamacare would create a health crisis by putting at risk some $500 billion in health-care funding, according to a statement issued by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. John McCain's dramatic "thumbs down" vote last July, the Trump administration has taken other steps that Obamacare advocates say weaken the law.
The Justice Department legal position nevertheless signals a remarkable willingness by the Trump administration to abandon landmark consumer protections in the health care law that for the first time prohibit health insurers from turning away sick consumers.
"If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is challenged in court, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books", wrote Bagley.
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. They were successful in repealing the individual mandate that requires all Americans to have health insurance after it was included in the GOP's tax reform legislation that Trump signed into law in December. "That change eliminated the basis for the court's decision to uphold the ACA's constitutionality".
Reyes said Friday that "the individual mandate can not be severed" from the parts of the Affordable Care Act that prohibit insurers from increasing a person's premium rates or denying them coverage based on their health history.
In parting company with the challenging states on their demand that all of the ACA be nullified, the Administration document said it was hypothetical speculation whether the entire program would collapse without the individual mandate and the related insurance coverage requirements.
The Justice Department's decision not to defend parts of the Affordable Care Act is one of a number of shifts the department has taken to distance itself from the previous administration.
"However, it's not surprising they've chosen not to, because of (their) consistent efforts.to undermine the ACA", Stanford told the Deseret News.
"The American public widely supports retaining protections for pre-existing conditions".
She cited a report from health care think tank Kaiser Family Foundation that estimates more than 52 million Americans have pre-existing health problems that would "likely leave them uninsurable" if it weren't for the Affordable Care Act's regulations. Estimates vary widely because there is not a standard definition of what counts as a pre-existing condition.
Also, 39 percent of registered voters in today's NBC/WSJ said they are enthusiastic or comfortable with a candidate seeking to repeal Obamacare, compared to 49 percent who said they have reservations or were very uncomfortable with a candidate seeking to repeal the health care law.
"Just read the brief of the states that intervened to defend the law".
"There's some hope that they will prevail", Stanford said.
Protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions are connected with the individual mandate, according to the Justice Department, meaning that they must also be struck down.
Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a solicitor general in the Obama administration, said there were obviously reasonable arguments that could be made in defense of the Affordable Care Act in the Texas case, pointing to those in a brief filed Thursday by California and 15 other states. "But to have one without the other doesn't make any sense".
The Texas case provides more uncertainty for state health insurers who already submitted their requested premium increases for 2019 for state review.
Legal specialists also point out that the Trump administration's failure to defend the federal health law could have long-lasting implications for the rule of law in the nation.
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