Trump Seeks End to Pre-existing Condition Mandate

11 June, 2018, 14:50 | Author: Lillian Steele
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Americans are very divided over the Affordable Care Act, but one piece that many support is the law's protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Twenty Republican state attorneys general filed suit on February 26, charging that Congress' changes to the law in last year's tax bill rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional. Now they have a new talking point, and they lost no time testing it.

The takeaway for consumers: This shouldn't deter people from seeking health insurance.

"What the states are really trying to do is bootstrap a claim against other parts of the law, and there's absolutely no basis for this", Adler said in an e-mail. "Picking this fight going into the summer of an election year is mind-boggling".

"I didn't vote for the health care bill", he said.

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

However, the Trump administration believes the provision of the ACA guaranteeing affordable rates to those with pre-existing conditions must be thrown out with the individual mandate. "Their job is to defend federal programs", Bagley says, noting that he has not talked with any of them about the case. Now that Congress has made a decision to zero out the penalty, as Republicans did past year as part of the 2017 tax cut, the pre-existing conditions have to go, too.

It's so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care - gasp! - a reality.

And Tim Hogan, a spokesman for Health Care Voters, a Democratic group looking to mobilize voters on the health care issue, called the decision a "blatant sabotage of the Affordable Care Act" and "something Republican members of Congress will have to explain to their constituents".

After the latest attempt to repeal the health law failed with Arizona Sen. Texas had asked the court to consider the provision of the ACA requiring individuals to have health insurance unconstitutional.

"When Congress reformed the tax system in December 2017, it removed the tax penalty for failing to comply with the mandate", Reyes said.

Two months later, Texas and the 19 other states filed suit in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, asserting that the mandate could no longer be justified as a tax and should therefore be struck down - and arguing that as a result, the rest of the law must be invalidated, too.

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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.

On Thursday, the US Justice Department proclaimed that the part of the Affordable Care Act requiring people to have health insurance was unconstitutional.

If the administration prevails in the case, the full force of the decision would not hit until after the midterm elections on November 6.

"I have always favored coverage for preexisting conditions and will continue to do so", Lance said, adding he would urge the administration to back off their new legal stance. Estimates vary widely because there is not a standard definition of what counts as a pre-existing condition. If the judge in the case agrees, millions of Americans with preexisting conditions could face denial of coverage or higher premiums.

Until the Trump Administration (which is the target of the lawsuit) filed its views on Thursday, the case had been building without either side knowing what the government position would be.

Here's their argument, and what they want. He recently ruled that 16 other states and the District of Columbia could join in the case formally to defend the ACA against the challenge. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a statement. "This is a sad moment".

In an unusual filing just before 6 p.m. Thursday, when the brief was due, the three career Justice attorneys involved in the case - Joel McElvain, Eric Beckenhauer and Rebecca Kopplin - withdrew.

Sessions said he agreed with the plaintiffs that without the mandate, the decision in the 2012 National Federation of Independent Business vs. former Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sebelius, is the proper course.

It said the rest of the law, including Medicaid expansion, can remain in place. It "has made a decision to abandon the hundreds of millions of people who depend on" the law, he said in an interview with Kaiser Health News. "Such withdrawals are exceedingly rare - typically only when the argument is indefensible, as they are here".

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. Judge Reed O'Connor was named to the court by President George W. Bush and has ruled against other aspects of the Affordable Care Act.

The Supreme Court has twice upheld the constitutionality of the health law.

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