Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

ACA challenge Trump won't defend

ACA challenge Trump won't defend

The Trump administration's decision to abandon the Affordable Care Act in an ongoing court challenge could affect some of the most popular pillars of the law - further intensifying the fight over health care in the middle of an election year.

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. No one in CT - or anywhere - should have to fear that they or their loved ones will be kicked to the curb and refused care when they need it most.

The overall ACA and the state-run marketplaces where subsidized health insurance is sold have continued to operate in the six years since the Supreme Court had upheld the individual-insurance mandate, but have often had difficulty holding down insurance premiums and have had a steady erosion of the number of insurance companies willing to continue to sell policies on those exchanges, even with subsidies that help them offset the cost of keeping premiums down.

In Virginia's 2017 elections, for instance, exit polls showed health care far and away the most important issue for voters, and those who said it was their top issue picked Democrat Ralph Northam over Republican Ed Gillespie in the governor's race by a margin of 77-22 percent.

Several Republicans expressed bewilderment at the notion that this protection could be declared unconstitutional or overturned. "I do not believe any court would conclude that that is unconstitutional". "If they tear this apart, and they don't have an alternative, I think we're headed for a train wreck", said Rep. James McGovern, Massachusetts Democrat.

"The American public widely supports retaining protections for pre-existing conditions".

But Democrats were already pouncing. "But it's also political malpractice because you've handed us an issue we will ride into the sunset".

Recent polling indicates that this could be a political victor for Democrats attempting to recapture at least one chamber of Congress. "But even if the Justice Department's arguments fail, as they should, the administration's violation of its duty to faithfully execute our nation's laws will still raise the cost of health care for most Americans, undermine the economy, and weaken our democracy for years to come". "Preexisting conditions is something everyone agreed we should keep".

The lawsuit, filed in February, is in many ways a replay of the politically divided litigation that ended with the Supreme Court upholding the health care overhaul in 2012.

But some moderate Republicans, including Sens.

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It's so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care - gasp! - a reality. The lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, contends that without an individual mandate, the entirety of the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.

It will likely take years for the case to wend its way through the courts, meaning the uncertainty could linger over insurers for some time, according to Spencer Perlman, an analyst at Veda Partners.

These two provisions, which have proved extremely popular with Americans, forced major changes to the health insurance industry.

In a statement, America's Health Insurance Plans, a leading trade group, predicted the Trump administration's decision could lead to difficultly for insurers setting rates, a patchwork of state insurance requirements, and higher rates for older and sicker Americans.

Pelosi and other supporters of the ACA were quick to condemn the move. They must grapple with how to protect the state's insurance market amid a continued assault against the federal health law. But it's crucial to remember that this was exactly the reaction of the same set of people in 2010, when the original argument was made against the individual mandate by libertarian law professor Randy Burnett.

Insurers face a more immediate quandary.

The president has backed new rules that would allow for an expansion of skimpier health plans that do not have to cover a full range of health benefits. First, if the administration's position prevails, millions of Americans will lose the protections they thought they had against being denied coverage if they suffer from preexisting conditions.

In short: The federal government is declining to defend federal law.

The Justice Department lawyers representing Trump's U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Trump's Internal Revenue Services have asked the court to narrow the scope of the suit, and then to grant a ruling in favor of Texas and its allies on the narrower version of the suit. "It suggests that future administrations can pick and choose which laws they're going to enforce", he said.

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