Medical

Local politicians, health leaders concerned with access to care

Local politicians, health leaders concerned with access to care

In a court filing late Thursday, the Trump administration is specifically urging the Texas federal court to strike down two provisions from the ACA: one that requires insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions, and the other that prevents insurers from charging individuals a higher premium due to their pre-existing condition.

Under these provisions of the law, insurance companies can not deny coverage or charge higher rates to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

But some GOP lawmakers and political operatives sounded warnings on Friday about the impact of the Justice Department's decision to side with Texas and other states in a lawsuit alleging that because Congress nullified the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate penalty, the rest of the law is invalid. A CBS News poll of 64 competitive House districts also found that health care is the top issue for voters, ahead of jobs and wages as well as immigration.

The Trump administration is siding with Texas in the state's bid to convince a federal judge that Obamacare is largely unconstitutional.

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. "I think what they're doing is wrong, I think their attempts to overturn the Affordable Care Act have been wrong, but look, they're the majority, they set the schedule". The most hypocritical claims take the Trump administration to task for not enforcing the law.

This current lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, argues that since Congress has changed the law to remove the penalty forcing individuals to get insurance, it has inadvertently rendered the rest of the law impermissible, under the 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

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 states argued that without the tax penalty that the Supreme Court used as a basis for upholding the legislation, the individual mandate is unconstitutional and is not severable from the Act in its entirety. The administration's position is likely to destabilize an insurance market already struggling with repeated administration actions that have undermined the market.

The Trump administration's decision to stop defending in court the Obama health law's popular protections for consumers with pre-existing conditions could prove risky for Republicans in the midterm elections - and nudge premiums even higher.

While Justice Department attorneys often advocate for laws they may personally disagree with, those three civil servants instead made a decision to exit from the case, which Bagley described as "almost unheard of".




Yesterday, the Trump administration's Department of Justice dropped a bombshell in a rural Texas federal courthouse.

For years, Republicans said they would protect people who suffer from preexisting conditions and were priced out of the individual market.

But Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, said it's not unprecedented for the Justice Department to refuse to defend a law it views as unconstitutional, so he doesn't see their decision as problematic.

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.

"We agree with the [Trump] administration that a preliminary injunction should not be granted to the plaintiffs".

According to a 2016 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation, approximately 52 million Americans under the age of 65 could find their access to health insurance at risk because of a wide range of pre-existing conditions, from diabetes to cancer to pregnancy. For starters, it's pretty rare for the DOJ (under any party's control) to come out against an existing USA law since it's generally in the business of trying to defend the law's constitutionality.

Despite the Justice Department position, the Health and Human Services Department has continued to apply the health law. Conservatives at the time accused the Justice Department of politicization.

If the court ultimately declared the provisions targeted by the Trump Administration unconstitutional, California would be temporarily cushioned from the effects because there are laws already on the books should the ACA - or its provisions - go away.

Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a solicitor general in the Obama administration, said there were obviously reasonable arguments that could be made in defense of the Affordable Care Act in the Texas case, pointing to those in a brief filed Thursday by California and 15 other states.

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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