In the court filing late Thursday, President Trump's administration said the department will no longer defend key parts of the ACA - also known as Obamacare - including the requirement that people have health insurance and provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions, drawing a dramatic reaction from Valley lawmakers.
The Justice Department argued the judge should strike down the section of the law that protects people buying insurance from being charged higher premiums due to their health history. And a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in May found that health care is one of the top issues on the minds of voters going into the 2018 midterms - especially Democrats.
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.
Legal specialists also point out that the Trump administration's failure to defend the federal health law could have long-lasting implications for the rule of law in the nation.
America's Health Insurance Plans said Friday that it plans to file a brief opposing the plaintiffs' request for emergency relief that would provides detail about the harm that would come to millions of Americans should their request to invalidate the ACA is granted either in whole or in part. "It suggests that future administrations can pick and choose which laws they're going to enforce", he said. But the Department of Health and Human Services could, in theory, create exceptions to those rules or rewrite them in way that could upend coverage for some consumers midyear, Levitt said.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act...as recently amended, forces an unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the States and their citizens.
However, the Trump administration believes the provision of the ACA guaranteeing affordable rates to those with pre-existing conditions must be thrown out with the individual mandate. It will add fuel to Democrats' efforts to make health care a campaign issue in the mid-term elections.
U.S. Department of Justice lawyers launched that attack on part of the ACA Wednesday, by asking a federal court in Texas to let the governments of Texas and other states that oppose the ACA win part of a suit they have filed - but only part of their suit. "Congress in 2010 may have thought that a mandate may have been an essential component of the ACA, but a subsequent Congress indicated otherwise by eliminating the penalty without altering the other parts of the law".
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"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 pre-existing 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.
But the administration said the rest of the law, including Medicaid expansion, can remain in place.
In announcing the lawsuit back in February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, "The US Supreme Court already admitted that an individual mandate without a tax penalty is unconstitutional".
Protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions are connected with the individual mandate, according to the Justice Department, meaning that they must also be struck down. United States. Obama's last CMS administrator Andy Slavitt tweeted the following false claim: "The Trump DOJ tonight just told the courts to dismantle pre-existing conditions protections and other consumer protections".
Many health care experts disagree with that position.
"I urge Congressman MacArthur publicly demands that President Trump defends protections for pre-existing conditions and upholds the ACA immediately, so our premiums and medical bills don't skyrocket even further", Kim said in a statement responding to Thursday's decision. Under another provision, the community rating provision, insurers were not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history.
If Democrats don't repeat that sentence a thousand times a day between now and November, they're nuts. It was defended instead by House Republicans but declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013.
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 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.