Insurer lobby group weighs in on Obamacare individual mandate case

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

According to the AP, the administration said it agrees that the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional without the fine and that language protecting those with medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums should also be struck down.

The Trump administration delivered an early midterms present to Democrats Thursday night when the Justice Department chose to side with 20 GOP states in a lawsuit seeking to gut the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions.

That includes the requirement that people have health insurance and sections that guarantee access to coverage regardless of any medical conditions, the Associated Press reported.

The DOJ claimed in court Thursday that the health care law's protections relating to pre-existing conditions are now improper, because the individual mandate was repealed.

But it said the rest of the law, including Medicaid expansion, can remain in place. But under the GOP tax bill signed into law last December, tax penalties for people without insurance were eliminated.

In many ways, the lawsuit, filed in February, is a replay of the politically divided litigation that ended with the Supreme Court upholding the health care overhaul in 2012.

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The major difference is that the justice department, under Donald Trump, has largely switched sides.

The Justice Department rarely declines to argue in favor of existing law in court and this decision will put pressure on the Affordable Care Act, the formal name for former President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The Trump administration is arguing parts of Obamacare are now 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.

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". He said the department only refused to defend the pre-existing conditions provision as well as one forbidding insurers from charging people in the same community different rates based on gender, age, health status or other factors.

The mandate introduced with Obamacare, the popular name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was meant to ensure a viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.

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