Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Medicine | By Douglas Stevenson

AHIP, Others React to DOJ Move Against ACA in Texas

AHIP, Others React to DOJ Move Against ACA in Texas

While the subsidies would not go away, it is unclear how their amount would be determined if insurers could return to the days before the law of charging higher prices to people with previous medical conditions - or refusing to cover them at all.More recently, the administration is in the midst of rewriting federal rules to make it easier for people to buy two types of insurance that are relatively cheap because they bypass the ACA's requirements for benefits that health plans sold to individuals and small business must include.

And it didn't take long for Democrats to respond to the Trump administration's new posture.

Weighing in on a Texas challenge to the health law, the Justice Department argued that legally and practically the popular consumer protections can not be separated from the unpopular insurance mandate, which Congress has repealed, effective next year. These plans are overwhelmingly opposed by consumer and patient advocates and others, who have warned that they will drive up costs for sicker consumers who need more comprehensive health coverage.

Why they did it: Republicans have targeted the Affordable Care Act for elimination ever since it passed, and President Trump continues to promise that it will be overturned.

The overall ACA and the state-run marketplaces where subsidized health insurance is sold have continued to operate in the six years since the Supreme Court had upheld the individual-insurance mandate, but have often had difficulty holding down insurance premiums and have had a steady erosion of the number of insurance companies willing to continue to sell policies on those exchanges, even with subsidies that help them offset the cost of keeping premiums down.

"The DOJ agrees with Texas that the individual mandate is unconstitutional once the tax penalty was zeroed out, and if it is struck down, the guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions go with it", said Jost. O'Connor was appointed by George W. Bush and recently ruled that health care providers can not be forced to perform procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs. Without that form of tax, the new Administration document noted, the ACA mandate to buy insurance would be unconstitutional as beyond Congress's power to regulate interstate commercial activity.

This is a huge deal... the administration's behavior sets a unsafe precedent about the obligation of this and future presidents to follow their constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws enacted by Congress....

"So many families from every political persuasion will lose the ability to find and purchase coverage because they have a pre-existing condition", Wood said.

An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released on Thursday - before the Trump administration decision was unveiled - found health care was the top issue for all voters and that it's an issue where Democrats have an overwhelming advantage. The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented.

The Trump administration's decision to abandon the Affordable Care Act in an ongoing court challenge could affect some of the most popular pillars of the law - further intensifying the fight over health care in the middle of an election year. "As of 2019, therefore, the individual mandate will be unconstitutional under controlling Supreme Court precedent holding that 'the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance'".

Becerra is leading an effort by Democratic attorney generals from others states and the District of Columbia to defend the ACA against that lawsuit.

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

Bailey's spokesman Corey Uhden said Friday that he wouldn't comment on the constitutionality of the ACA provisions.

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". "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 Justice Department is determined to remove the clause from the Affordable Health Care Act. But Martin S. Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Obama administration, called the mass withdrawal a likely sign of distress. However, this can soon change in 2019 if the Justice Department wins their lawsuit. "Such withdrawals are exceedingly rare - typically only when the argument is indefensible, as they are here".

Mr. King said Congress should put in place the fixes that Republicans have offered since 2010, such as expansion of tax-advantaged health savings accounts and the sale of insurance across state lines. Conservatives at the time accused the Justice Department of politicization. Ultimately, the issue could be decided by the Supreme Court.

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. The case would then go to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where appointees of Republican presidents hold a 10-5 majority over Democratic appointees.

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