Trump administration's latest attack on Obamacare would gut protections for the sick

The Trump administration is calling a key part of Obamacare that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions unconstitutional

Unless you have been vacationing in a far away galaxy, you will have heard the ululations of Obamacare apologists enraged by the Trump administration's refusal to defend the health care law against a 20-state lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.Obamacare advocates claim that the failure to defend the ACA in Texas v.

Besides urging nullification of the insurance-buying mandate itself, the new government position argued that two of the most popular features of the ACA must fall along with it: the requirement that insurance companies can not deny health insurance to individuals because of existing or pre-existing medical conditions, and the requirement that they can not charge higher insurance premiums based on existing or pre-existing conditions.

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes says a decision by the Department of Justice not to defend pivotal parts of the Affordable Care Act in court will strengthen the state's recently submitted lawsuit, filed with 19 other states, that argues the entire law should be struck down as unconstitutional. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

The administration's legal brief, filed Thursday in federal district court in Fort Worth, Texas, takes aim at those links.

The two provisions, along with Obamacare's requirement that insurers offer comprehensive coverage, have been targets of Republicans seeking to repeal the law and lower premiums.

Legal specialists also point out that the Trump administration's failure to defend the federal health law could have long-lasting implications for the rule of law in the nation.

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".

The lawsuit's key argument is that Congress intended for the pre-existing condition protections to work in tandem with the law's individual mandate, the provision that people have insurance or pay a penalty.

The administration said it agrees with Texas. "The decision by the Department of Justice to abandon critical patient protections is devastating for the millions of Americans who suffer from serious illnesses or have preexisting conditions and rely on those protections under current law to obtain life-saving healthcare", read a joint statement from the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. They included provisions establishing health insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid coverage and subsidizing premiums for lower-income people. "No matter what Washington spin Bob Casey puts on it, the fact remains access to care got worse and costs skyrocketed early in the Obama Administration due to the disastrous law Casey supported".

Indeed, polls have shown over and over again that the policy issue most on voters' minds right now is health care. In the tax law, Congress repealed the penalty for people who fail to have health insurance starting in 2019.

"Tonight, as the president and his administration launch their most risky sabotage effort yet, we are seeing just how far Republicans are willing to go in their quest to undermine the American health care system", said Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care, an advocacy group staffed with many Obama administration alums.

In announcing the lawsuit back in February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, "The US Supreme Court already admitted that an individual mandate without a tax penalty is 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. The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented. Not only may health insurance continue getting less affordable, they even want to take away the pre-existing conditions protection you now enjoy, all while they're working hard to destabilize the private insurance market.

Crusading against the ACA has been a priority of President Donald Trump since his campaign for the White House. "Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are using the people as political pawns".

"If those go together, they make sense", Showalter said. Without it, all of the ACA's regulations should be invalid, they said, citing a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

The suit is being heard by Judge Reed O'Connell, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and has ruled against the ACA in other cases the past few years.

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