DOJ Argues Parts Of Obamacare Are Unconstitutional After Mandate Repeal

DOJ Argues Parts Of Obamacare Are Unconstitutional After Mandate Repeal

The comments from America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) come a day after the U.S. Justice Department called Obamacare's individual mandate - which requires individuals to have health insurance or pay a penalty - unconstitutional. In this case, California is leading a group of Democrat-led states in defending the law.

"I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is", University of MI law professor Nicholas Bagley said in a blog post.

Timothy Jost, law professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University in Virginia said the Trump administration is trying to persuade the court to do what it was unable to achieve in Congress past year - essentially, repeal key parts of the Obama health law.

Reyes said that the Department of Justice's decision "strengthens our case, and we look forward to seeing if the district judge agrees".

Bagley said the brief reveals the "depth of institutional decay at the Department of Justice", and he expressed profound concern about the precedent it sets.

"There's some hope that they will prevail", Stanford said.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlighted the two provisions in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan. But Sessions said this was a "rare case" and not unprecedented. 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.

But the lawsuit has been filed in a conservative court in Texas, and the Trump administration's refusal to defend key parts of the law has likely boosted the plaintiffs' chances.

As a result, the Texas lawsuit contends, "the country is left with an individual mandate to buy health insurance that lacks any constitutional basis".

Insurers, meanwhile, warned that the administration's actions could rock the individual market and could lead to higher premiums, especially for those battling illnesses. "If the Trump Administration is successful in arguing against the constitutionality of protecting patients' access to care, it will have immediate and disastrous effect on our health care system and the American people".

What are the ramifications of the Trump administration making these arguments?

Many advocates spoke out against the Trump administration's stance on the law's consumer protections.

Before the Affordable Care Act marketplace launched in 2014, people with chronic diseases who tried to buy their own insurance were routinely denied coverage based on their medical history.

This is not the first move the Trump administration has taken that would undermine Obamacare's consumer protections. Moreover, Congress had no intention of repealing the rest of the law when it eliminated the individual mandate in 2017. Experts believe that could entice healthier people to exit the marketplace in favor of less-expensive, short-term plans, leaving the marketplace with a sicker population that could drive insurance costs higher.

"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.

Bagley said, "That's nearly unheard of".

Here's their argument, and what they want. They're civil servants. They're good soldiers. Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute told Politico that the refusal to defend key parts of the ACA shows that the Trump administration is going even further in its battle against the health care law.



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