Medicine

Justice Department takes aim at heart of health law

Justice Department takes aim at heart of health law

"In particular, this decision could lead to insurers denying coverage to the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions".

While the case has to play out from here, the administration's striking position raises the possibility that major parts of the law could be struck down - a year after the Republican Congress failed at attempts to repeal core provisions.

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". President Trump has said he wants a repeal and replacement of the law.

Republished with the permission of the Associated Press. "I certainly do not believe the provision on preexisting conditions is unconstitutional". "I think that's a pretty essential pact with the American people", said MacArthur.

"The question is, what does this do to insurance markets now?" said Jost.

But Democrats were already pouncing. "But it's also political malpractice because you've handed us an issue we will ride into the sunset". Conservatives at the time accused the Justice Department of politicization.

Privately, some Republicans involved with midterm races expressed frustration at the move.

Dismantling the ACA could "push people into positions where they have to make decisions on whether they're going to get treatment or whether they're going to eat", said Charlie Quinn, CEO of RECAP, an Orange County nonprofit that provides social services. "Preexisting conditions is something everyone agreed we should keep". The companies were already nervous because of Congress's decision previous year to eliminate the penalty for going without health coverage.

Trump and fellow Republicans in Congress have sought to dismantle Obamacare, which sought to expand insurance coverage to more Americans. Republicans, in turn, were focused on calls by liberals such as Sen.

It's so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care - gasp! - a reality.




Insurers are now in the midst of deciding whether to participate in the individual marketplaces created under the law in 2019 and, if so, what filing rates with state regulators will be. The possibility that a Texas judge could, at the administration's urging, wipe out this rule - with an inevitable appeal to higher courts - introduces a new source of instability that insurers detest.

These two provisions, which have proved extremely popular with Americans, forced major changes to the health insurance industry. It will lead to "renewed uncertainty in the individual market" and a "patchwork of requirements in the states" and make it more challenging to offer coverage next year. It is certainly clear that in zeroing out the individual mandate penalty in 2017, Congress did not mean to bar people with preexisting conditions from insurance. "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, '" the brief says.

Insurers face a more immediate quandary.

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. "Insurers hate uncertainty, and they respond to it by hedging their bets and increasing premiums", says Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The president has backed new rules that would allow for an expansion of skimpier health plans that do not have to cover a full range of health benefits. United States is an unprecedented dereliction of duty by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

"The pre-existing condition thing is what the ads will be run on", said Blendon. The subsidies for each region within a state are based on a "community rating", which, in turn, takes into account the cost of covering healthy and sick customers.

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.

The Democrats further raised concerns that even if the Justice Department's arguments are unsuccessful, the administration's move could still "raise the cost of health care for most Americans, undermine the economy and weaken our democracy for years to come".

Linda Muller, president and CEO of Cornerstone Healthcare, the mid-Hudson's largest low-income health provider, said it would be disastrous if "an entire class of individuals with pre-existing conditions are targeted" by a federal decision not to support them.

ACA opponents argued even before the legislation creating the ACA was drafted that a mandate would be the equivalent of Congress requiring people who hate broccoli to buy broccoli.


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