Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Medicine | By Tracy Klein

The Trump administration says Obamacare is unconstitutional: What it means to you

The Trump administration says Obamacare is unconstitutional: What it means to you

And the Justice Department says it agrees with those states, and it will not defend some of the key remaining provisions in the law.

That would mean insurers would no longer be subject to "guaranteed issue" (a requirement that they sell policies to anybody, regardless of medical status) or "community rating" (a prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions). "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'".

The lawsuit, filed in February by Texas and other GOP-led states, is in many ways a replay of the politically divided litigation that ended with the Supreme Court upholding the health care overhaul in 2012.

"I'm running for Congress because previous year, during the lead up to my son's birth, our doctor told my wife and I that our son may not survive or have a serious health condition for the rest of his life", Kim said Friday.

"United States, the department will not defend the constitutionality of [the individual mandate], and will argue that certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are inseverable from that provision", U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) explaining his decision.

ROVNER: Well, one of the reasons it's happening - say the insurers, who are filing their rates now for next year - is because they took away this penalty for people who don't have insurance. It helped expand their risk pools while the law forced them to guarantee coverage to any customer.

For years, Republicans said they would protect people who suffer from preexisting conditions and were priced out of the individual market.

SIMON: What other parts of the ACA does the Department of Justice single out in the lawsuit? Lance, who faces a tough reelection race, distanced himself from his party's health-care legislation and the tax law that repealed the individual mandate.

"If the Trump administration is successful in arguing against the constitutionality of protecting patients' access to care, it will have immediate and disastrous effect on our health care system and the American people", the lawmakers say.

Shortly before the government's court filing Thursday, three career lawyers at the Justice Department withdrew from the case and were replaced by two political appointees, according to court filings. But past year the Republican-controlled Congress eliminated those penalties as part of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul that Trump signed in December.

"Just read the brief of the states that intervened to defend the law". 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.

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.

For years Democrats ran from the health-care issue as though it were a heap of flaming rubble, which, politically speaking, it was. President Trump has said he wants a repeal and replacement of the law.

"You can definitely assume Democrats will use it to whip up their side", said Wilensky, administrator of Medicare under former President George H.W. Bush. 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. But Texas handpicked the judge in the case, who has demonstrated his aversion to the ACA in other cases. "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".

Dismantling the ACA could "push people into positions where they have to make decisions on whether they're going to get treatment or whether they're going to eat", said Charlie Quinn, CEO of RECAP, an Orange County nonprofit that provides social services. However, the Trump administration contends the individual mandate only becomes unconstitutional as of 2019, calling for a declaratory judgment from the court on the constitutionality but a denial of a preliminary injunction for the plaintiffs.

A group of Democratic state attorneys general, lead by California's Xavier Becerra, are riding to the law's defense.

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