Jun 11 2018 by Kathy Alvarado
The Trump administration delivered an early midterms present to Democrats Thursday night when the Justice Department made a decision to side with 20 GOP states in a lawsuit seeking to gut the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions.
Reyes said Friday that "the individual mandate can not be severed" from the parts of the Affordable Care Act that prohibit insurers from increasing a person's premium rates or denying them coverage based on their health history.
In a brief filed in a federal court in Texas, the department said a tax law signed a year ago by President Donald Trump that eliminated penalties for not having health insurance rendered the so-called individual mandate under Obamacare unconstitutional.
The shift to health care is a notable strategy by which Democrats are hoping to remind American voters that Republicans are "deliberately sabotaging" the health care system, as Schumer put it in a letter he wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier in the week.
The Trump administration is siding with Texas in the state's bid to convince a federal judge that Obamacare is largely unconstitutional.
Repealing Obamacare has been a rallying cry for Republican candidates for the past eight years.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra pledged Friday to redouble his efforts as the Affordable Care Act's leading defender, saying attacks by the Trump Administration threaten health care for millions of Americans. But Reyes contended the decision is a sign that the federal government is sensibly coming to terms with the constitutionality problems in the Affordable Care Act.
Department of Financial Services Superintendent Maria Vullo, the state's top health insurance regulator, wrote in a Crain's op-ed last month that she would not let the uncertainty stemming from the Trump administration's actions on the ACA lead to an increase in premiums.
AHIP said it will file an amicus brief in support of the law that "provides more detail about the harm that would come to millions of Americans if the request to invalidate the ACA is granted in whole or in part".
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Once the heart of the ACA - the individual mandate - is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA must also fall... without any accompanying exercise of Congress's taxing power, which the Supreme Court already held that Congress has no authority to enact. But insurers said the legal debate alone could cause turmoil in insurance markets this summer.
The mandate is the core provision of the ACA and is inseparable from the rest of the President Obama's signature law, the plaintiffs said. The administration decided its "dislike for the Affordable Care Act outweighed its respect for the rule of law". Insurers say the individual health insurance market is more stable than people might think. In May, the court allowed them to "intervene" in the case. The short version is that the administration is refusing to defend the ACA in court, even though it's standard practice for the Justice Department to defend laws even when they don't agree with them.
Before the brief was filed, three career lawyers at the Justice Department withdrew from the case.
Protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions are connected with the individual mandate, according to the Justice Department, meaning that they must also be struck down.
Crusading against the ACA has been a priority of President Donald Trump since his campaign for the White House. They must grapple with how to protect the state's insurance market amid a continued assault against the federal health law.
"If those go together, they make sense", Showalter said. That would include such popular items as the guarantee that young people can stay on their family's health insurance plans until age 26, subsidies to help poorer people to afford health insurance, the existing state-level health insurance marketplaces ("exchanges"), the expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for poor people, and a mandate that larger employers provided minimum levels of health insurance coverage for their workers. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the lawyers' withdrawal had been a department decision, declining to specify whether the lawyers had personally objected to continuing on the case.
If Democrats don't repeat that sentence a thousand times a day between now and November, they're nuts. Without it, all of the ACA's regulations should be invalid, they said, citing a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.
The states' challenge to the overall ACA has been pending since February in the Fort Worth court of U.S. District Judge Reed C. O'Connor.
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