Health Care

Trump administration decides to stop defending pre-existing condition protections

Trump administration decides to stop defending pre-existing condition protections”

The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate-which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a "tax" if they don't-and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate - requiring Americans to purchase insurance and exacting a yearly financial penalty from those who don't - was not a constitutional use of the Commerce Clause, but that it was a lawful use of Congress' authority to require taxes.

In court papers, the Justice Department said it doesn't want to stop the law in its tracks, but said they agreed with the plaintiffs who say the most famous parts of the law are now illegal. The court held that Congress was able to offer people a choice: get insurance, or pay a tax.

Removing consumer friendly provisions like guaranteed issue, whereby health insurers can not deny coverage to applicants or charge more based on health status, will result in renewed uncertainty in the market as well as push up rates for older and sicker patients, AHIP added. Moreover, Congress had no intention of repealing the rest of the law when it eliminated the individual mandate in 2017. "As of 2019, therefore, the individual mandate will be unconstitutional under controlling Supreme Court precedent holding that 'the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance'".

Becerra is leading an effort by Democratic attorney generals from others states and the District of Columbia to defend the ACA against that lawsuit.

Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the lawsuit said that without the individual mandate, Obamacare in its entirety was unlawful. "That change eliminated the basis for the court's decision to uphold the ACA's constitutionality". There is reason to believe the judge may accept the Trump administration's arguments.

The state has been at the forefront in resisting many Trump Administration policies, including on health care and immigration.

The DOJ in fact sided in large part with the states, arguing that the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be invalidated. Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute told Politico that the refusal to defend key parts of the ACA shows that the Trump administration is going even further in its battle against the health care law. It also says that provisions shielding people with medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums and limiting how much insurers can charge older Americans should fall as well. "The brief filed by the Trump Administration yesterday represents a shocking break from precedent, and relies on legally dubious, partisan claims to argue against the constitutionality of the current law", they said in a joint statement.

Before the Affordable Care Act marketplace launched in 2014, people with chronic diseases who tried to buy their own insurance were routinely denied coverage based on their medical history.

More recently, the White House and Department of Health and Human Services have been working to make it easier for consumers to buy relatively low-cost health plans that exclude some of the benefits the ACA requires. Legal experts are also skeptical the case will prevail and say it will take many months for a decision in the case, and the lawsuit could play out for years because of appeals.



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