GOP risks fallout over move on health law | Health care act

11 Junio, 2018, 02:10 | Author: Earnest Bishop
  • Trump justice department will stop defending key parts of Obamacare

If the judge buys the administration's argument, and if his ruling is upheld on appeal, 52 million Americans with preexisting conditions could face denial of coverage or higher premiums.

A medical doctor, right, examines a patient at a CCI Health and Wellness Services health centre in Gaithersburg, Maryland, US, on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

The chances for that argument succeeding are viewed with deep skepticism by legal experts, in part because Congress itself indicated that the rest of ObamaCare could still stand without the mandate when it moved to repeal the tax penalty a year ago.

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.

The issue became a flash point that helped derail Republican efforts to repeal the law past year, with opponents of the party's health bills speaking loudly against weakening protections for the sick and vulnerable.

At issue is a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican state attorneys general on February 26, which charged that Congress' changes to the law in last year's tax bill rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional. The guarantee that people should be able to buy insurance regardless of their health history has been a popular provision of the divisive law - one that President Trump has praised, calling the law's prohibition on denying insurance to sick people "one of the strongest assets" of the Affordable Care Act in a "60 Minutes" interview before he took office. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in early June found that 36 percent people are "very uncomfortable" with a candidate who supports repealing the ACA - a significant jump up from 25 percent in 2010.

The Justice Department's decision was announced Thursday in a filing in federal court in Texas.

"You can't pull the rug out from underneath people with pre-existing conditions", O'Donnell said.

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Asked about the Justice Department move, Jesse Hunt, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, spoke instead about the Democrats. In it, the states deem the entirety of Obamacare and its regulations invalid.

MacArthur's district is a target for Democrats attempting to flip at least 23 House seats the party needs to take control of the chamber after the November election. The government has essentially pivoted from defending the law to agreeing with the states that the court should demolish it.

This is not the first move the Trump administration has taken that would undermine Obamacare's consumer protections.

"I still believe the ACA was unconstitutional in many aspects and passing under the auspices of the tax argument was not proper", said Chris Collins, who Represents a solidly Republican district in Upstate New York.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, predicted that the resurrection of the issue would mobilize voters, saying, "There's nothing quite like the administration taking an action in court to illustrate the simple fact that they are still coming after your health care".

"Democrats destroyed the health-care system as we knew when they rammed Obamacare down our throats", Hunt said.

The Trump administration's startling decision to abandon one of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions - protections for people with preexisting medical conditions - put Republicans on the defensive Friday and handed Democrats a potentially potent political message.

The states argue that because Congress recently repealed a provision that people without health insurance must pay a fine, the requirement to have health insurance is unconstitutional because it is no longer considered a tax. Whatever the lower courts decide, the case seems destined to reach the Supreme Court. "The Trump Administration is perpetuating the same cruel vision of higher costs and less coverage that House Republicans voted for in the monstrosity of Trumpcare". Those two were so closely tied to the insurance-buying mandate that they would not work in the health insurance market without the guaranteed pool of insured people that the mandate was designed to create, Administration lawyers contended. "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".

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