Trump administration: Heart of health law unconstitutional

11 June, 2018, 16:31 | Author: Jared Lewis
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington

The lawsuit could easily go all the way to the Supreme Court before there is a resolution, which could take years.

After failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a Republican-controlled Congress, the Trump administration is seizing on a different strategy for dismantling the law, one fraught with political risk. Partly that's because those consumer protections also raise premiums across the board, as the cost of covering the sick is spread among all customers, including healthier people who previously benefited from lower rates.

"Congress is always free to amend its statutes, even to omit what it previously thought was essential", writes Nick Bagley, a law professor at the University of MI, in a Thursday evening blog post. Without the tax, Texas' says, the rest of the law falls. "Picking this fight going into the summer of an election year is mind-boggling".

"I didn't vote for the health care bill", he said.

That's not so surprising considering more than 52 million non-elderly Americans have health conditions that could have rendered them uninsurable prior to Obamacare, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found. Such provisions include protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions from being charged more or being denied coverage.

The popularity of those provisions made repeal politically risky, so Republicans chose to leave the popular parts in place and try to repeal only the unpopular parts.

Senior House Democrats on health care committees called the administration's refusal to defend the federal health law a "stunning attack on the rule of law".

Mark Showalter, chairman of the Department of Economics at BYU, contended that although protections for people with pre-existing conditions is a well-liked part of the law and the individual mandate penalty was considered deeply unpopular, the provisions are two sides of the same coin.

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But that was not the talking point of the party's re-election arm.

It's so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care - gasp! - a reality. "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 lawsuit argues that with the mandate to purchase insurance still technically in place, but the financial penalty for those who don't abide by it being removed beginning in 2020, Congress' taxing power no longer applies to the provision, leaving it unconstitutional.

America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a trade group for health insurers, today put out a statement arguing that eliminating the current underwriting rules for 2019 would lead to major disruption in the individual major medical market. But in this instance it agrees with the state that the individual mandate and other requirements should be deemed illegitimate as of January 1, 2019.

Jost said it's telling that three career Justice Department lawyers refused to support the administration's position.

The decision, announced in a filing in a federal court in Texas, is a rare departure from the Justice Department's practice of defending federal laws in court.

If the administration prevails in the case, the full force of the decision would not hit until after the midterm elections on November 6.

The same report estimates 391,000 Utahns have pre-existing conditions that could affect their coverage eligibility.

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England beat Costa Rica 2-0 at Elland Road in the Three Lions' final warm-up game for the World Cup. He is still filling out - we sometimes forget how old he is", added Southgate.

The nation's top insurers' lobby said Friday the administration's position is untenable and could destabilize the markets as insurers develop their offerings for next year.

"Removing those provisions will result in renewed uncertainty in the individual market, create a patchwork of requirements in the states, cause rates to go even higher for older Americans and sicker patients, and make it challenging to introduce products and rates for 2019", the statement said.

California and 15 other states have intervened in the lawsuit, and Stanford said she has some optimism they will be able to successfully argue for pre-existing condition protections, even as the Department of Justice relinquishes that effort.

In short: The federal government is declining to defend federal law. "This is a sad moment".

Just hours before the Justice Department officially withdrew from the case, three of the staff attorneys who had been working on it withdrew.

The news rallied defenders of the law into action and raised questions among legal scholars about the likelihood it would succeed.

"The Justice Department has an entrenched, long-standing and bipartisan commitment to defending congressional statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense", he wrote for the Yale Journal on Regulation in March.

In court papers, the Justice Department said it doesn't want to stop the law in its tracks, but said they agreed with the plaintiffs who say the most famous parts of the law are now illegal.

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Some Democratic politicians didn't waste much time. U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor is presiding. United States has its roots in another legal travesty that these people also celebrated - the 2012 Supreme Court ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius.

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