The Trump administration, in a late-Thursday court filing, stated that it would no longer defend provisions of the health care law, known as Obamacare, that require people to have health insurance and guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions, the Associated Press reported.
"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 health care", wrote a coalition of patient advocacy groups, including the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. The states argue that after Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate, effective in 2019, as part of last year's tax reform bill, it destabilized other sections of the law. Texas and other Republican-led states are suing to strike down the entire law because Congress recently repealed a provision that people without health insurance must pay a fine.
The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate-which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a "tax" if they don't-and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated. They say the rest of the law is not able to be separated from the mandate, and therefore should also be overturned.
The Trump administration is trying out a new tactic to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare): calling at least one provision of it unconstitutional.
"Justice Department attorneys don't withdraw from cases simply because the government is making an argument the lawyers think the courts should or would reject", he said. "But even if the Justice Department's arguments fail, as they should, the administration's violation of its duty to faithfully execute our nation's laws will still raise the cost of health care for most Americans, undermine the economy, and weaken our democracy for years to come".
Americans are very divided over the Affordable Care Act, but one piece that many support is the law's protections for those with pre-existing conditions. If granted, the request would also lead to higher premiums for.
"The question is, what does this do to insurance markets now?" said Jost.