Trump administration would gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions
- Eloise Marshall
Administration officials at the departments of Health and Human Services and Treasury would not comment, instead pointing to the Justice Department filing, which said other parts of the health law would continue to stand, including its Medicaid expansion covering about 12 million low-income people.
The DOJ's decision not to defend the mandate's constitutionality will not prevent the court in Texas v United States from resolving the question, Sessions said.
On Thursday evening, the Trump administration submitted a legal filing saying it would not "defend the constitutionality" of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act in support of a lawsuit filed by Republican-led states filed a lawsuit earlier this year. In it, the states deem the entirety of Obamacare and its regulations invalid.
The Justice Department said that also nullified two other major provisions of Obamacare linked to the individual mandate, including one barring insurance companies from denying coverage to people with preexisting conditions.
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More than one in four adults under the age of 65 have existing medical conditions, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.
"I favor protecting those in our society with pre-existing conditions, but I don't want to put the cart before the horse", said Mr. Lance, who voted against the GOP replacement bill. They were successful in repealing the individual mandate that requires all Americans to have health insurance after it was included in the GOP's tax reform legislation that Trump signed into law in December.
In Lexington, congressional hopeful Amy McGrath has attacked incumbent Republican Andy Barr for "enthusiastically" voting to strip healthcare coverage from more than a quarter-million Kentuckians - "many of the same kind of people", she said in a campaign video, that her mother, a polio survivor, treated as a doctor. The mandate may have been thought been necessary to make those provisions work in practice, but it turns out that, so far at least, they are operating without it, and the death spiral hasn't happened. They must grapple with how to protect the state's insurance market amid a continued assault against the federal health law. The move could upend insurance markets for next year and change the dynamic of this fall's elections.
Insurers, meanwhile, warned that the administration's actions could rock the individual market and could lead to higher premiums, especially for those battling illnesses. These marketplaces have had their troubles - with many commercial insurers defecting and prices spiking - but their basic contours have remained intact.
The issues in the court case are unlikely to be resolved quickly, but some experts said the added uncertainty could prompt insurers to seek higher premiums in 2019 for health plans sold to individuals. Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked Noel J. Francisco, President Trump's Solicitor General in February. "It suggests that future administrations can pick and choose which laws they're going to enforce", he said.
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Just hours before the Justice Department officially withdrew from the case, three of the staff attorneys who had been working on it withdrew. They're civil servants. They're good soldiers. They're not political. They are good soldiers. Although the challengers had suggested that "a chain reaction of failed policymaking" would occur once the mandate was invalidated, the government lawyers said that the challengers could not show that striking down the mandate and the closely-tied coverage clauses "means that the ACA necessarily ceases to implement any coherent federal policy". That will leave sicker people buying insurance.
Come November, voters in Idaho will likely weigh a ballot measure that would expand Medicaid to more than 60,000 hard-pressed residents, bypassing a conservative Legislature that has consistently blocked the move and thwarted advocates like Perry.
Several other provisions of the law, however, are severable and can still be enforced, the Justice Department said. "At the worst it could strip away guaranteed coverage for those with pre-existing conditions".
The states say that without the individual mandate, the whole ACA should be struck down as unconstitutional.
The filing was made in reaction to a lawsuit filed by Texas, 18 other states and the governor of ME, but the Administration stopped short of supporting all that those challengers are asking.
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