Trump administration would gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions

United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas- Fort Worth

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The Justice Department filed its brief Thursday in challenge to the 2010 health-care law filed by Texas and 19 other states, report Politico, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Axios and the Washington Post.

That would mean insurers would no longer be subject to "guaranteed issue" (a requirement that they sell policies to anybody, regardless of medical status) or "community rating" (a prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions).

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.

Back when Republicans were trying to come up with a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they quickly realized that while most Americans had only a vague sense of what was in the law, there were parts of it that were extraordinarily popular.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision.

"The pre-existing condition thing is what the ads will be run on", said Blendon. Even when insurers offered policies to those with health problems, they often excluded those illnesses.

The federal courts have no power to strike down those other provisions, since they can be severed from the parts of the ACA that will fall when the tax penalty ends at the opening of next year, the government argued.

As many as 130 million adults under age 65 in the US have pre-existing conditions that could result in their not being able to get insurance coverage in the private market, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Eyles said that AHIP plans to file a brief in the case laying out "more detail about the harm that would come to millions of Americans if the request to invalidate the ACA is granted". Lance, who faces a tough reelection race, distanced himself from his party's health-care legislation and the tax law that repealed the individual mandate. "If the Trump Administration is successful in arguing against the constitutionality of protecting patients' access to care, it will have immediate and disastrous effect on our health care system and the American people".

Justice Department tells court it won't defend...

Indeed, people who pay the full cost of their individual health plans and aren't eligible for subsidies under the health law have been clamoring for relief from several years of double-digit premium increases.

The Justice Department said that also nullifies two other major provisions of Obamacare linked to the individual mandate, including one barring insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. John McCain's dramatic "thumbs down" vote last July, the Trump administration has taken other steps that Obamacare advocates say weaken the law. "Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are using the people as political pawns".

AHIP said it agrees with the Trump administration that the plaintiffs should not be granted a preliminary injunction. "For the people not affected by the ACA, or not particularly supportive, I don't know that it will matter much".

Becerra accused the administration of going “AWOL.” 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.

The Democrats argued that DOJ's refusal to defend the controversial health care law could eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and "have profound consequences for patients, the health care system and the American economy".

Sessions said the department was unable to find any "reasonable arguments" for the constitutionality of the consumer protection provisions and the department adopted the position "with the approval of the president of the United States".

Rep. Tom MacArthur, New Jersey Republican, included a provision in the House bill that would have required insurers to cover sicker Americans but allowed states to waive the prohibition on charging them higher premiums. By withdrawing from defending the law in court, the Trump administration is saying it no longer supports those consumer protections, which are popular with voters.

"I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is", University of MI law professor Nicholas Bagley said in a blog post.

In a statement, America's Health Insurance Plans, a leading trade group, predicted the Trump administration's decision could lead to difficultly for insurers setting rates, a patchwork of state insurance requirements, and higher rates for older and sicker Americans. It will also make it more likely that they take back the White House in two years.

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