Justice Department says heart of Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

Justice Department says heart of Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

Justice Department says heart of Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

The Trump administration argues that because the new tax law eliminates the penalty for not buying insurance, the Supreme Court's previous ruling permitting the mandate as a tax no longer applies.

Sessions said in his letter that the Justice Department was not arguing that the entire law does not pass constitutional muster.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter to Congress that Trump, who campaigned on repealing the law and almost did so his first year in office, approved the legal strategy. "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".

Most Republicans on Friday insisted they continued to support coverage for people with preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer.

That's not so surprising considering more than 52 million non-elderly Americans have health conditions that could have rendered them uninsurable prior to Obamacare, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found.

Several Republicans expressed bewilderment at the notion that this protection could be declared unconstitutional or overturned. "I don't even understand what the legal argument would be", said Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., one of the most endangered Republican incumbents in the midterms.

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But Democrats were already pouncing. "A compelling defense of the law is right there in black and white", Verrilli said in a statement. "But it's also political malpractice because you've handed us an issue we will ride into the sunset".

Some Democratic politicians didn't waste much time.

Here's their argument, and what they want. "In practice, this likely would exclude from the commercial health insurance markets individuals with preexisting conditions, individuals with illnesses that are expensive to treat, and many individuals over the age of 50 or 55".

But some moderate Republicans, including Sens. "Our coalition of states and partners across the country will fight any effort to strip families of their health insurance", he said.

Among them is Andy Kim, a former Obama administration national security aide who is running to unseat New Jersey Republican Representative Tom MacArthur, sponsor of an amendment to the GOP's 2017 Obamacare repeal that allowed states to seek waivers to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions. Health insurers are now deciding whether to sell coverage in the individual market in 2019 - and what they're going to charge.

America's Health Insurance Plans, the main industry trade group, bemoaned the Justice Department's stance, saying it could upset a market that is becoming "more steady" for most consumers. "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". Because the individual mandate is essential to the operation of all of the other ACA provisions, Texas argued, the entire ACA must be invalidated. In the new suit, California is leading a group of Democratically led states in defending the law.

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In a court filing late Thursday, the Trump administration is specifically urging the Texas federal court to strike down two provisions from the ACA: one that requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and the other that prevents insurers from charging individuals a higher premium due to their pre-existing condition.

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.

However, if the federal court sides with the plaintiffs, those with pre-existing conditions could once again be denied coverage. The subsidies for each region within a state are based on a "community rating", which, in turn, takes into account the cost of covering healthy and sick customers.

A group of 20 US states sued the federal government in February, claiming the law was no longer constitutional after last year's repeal of that penalty that individuals had to pay for not having insurance.

"This lawsuit is less about altering the law and more about blowing it up", Levitt said.

For instance, existing rules would protect people with pre-existing conditions for twelve months if the ACA were struck down.

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