Justice Department won't defend pre-existing conditions rule

The Trump administration is calling a key part of Obamacare that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions unconstitutional

The lawsuit argues the individual mandate was a central component of the Affordable Care Act, inseparable from its other provisions, and that as a result its unconstitutionality requires the entire law to be struck down. "Congress needs to work in a bipartisan manner to develop a solution that covers pre-existing conditions and makes health care more affordable and accessible for every American".

The reason so many people could be affected by this decision is because it would apply not just to people with individual insurance policies, "but also [to] people with preexisting conditions who have employer-sponsored coverage".

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

The Affordable Care Act has already survived several court challenges, and this latest test of its durability could take months or years to go through the legal system. The companies were already nervous because of Congress's decision past year to eliminate the penalty for going without health coverage.

"I have always favored coverage for preexisting conditions and will continue to do so", Lance said, adding he would urge the administration to back off their new legal stance. They included provisions establishing health insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid coverage and subsidizing premiums for lower-income people.

President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a Cabinet meeting at the White House December 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.

According to health-policy experts, a court ruling in favor of the suing GOP states and the administration would trigger what one called "immediate chaos" in the law's insurance marketplaces created under the law. Moreover, even a strong majority of Republicans - even those spooked by the word Obamacare - want to see protections for people with pre-existing conditions kept in place.

These sections of the law, along with the mandate that insurers provide comprehensive coverage, are the bedrock of Obamacare's protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

But that was not the talking point of the party's re-election arm.

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

The states argue that now that Congress repealed the penalty for not having coverage in the tax bill previous year, ObamaCare's individual mandate can no longer be upheld as a tax, and that it therefore should be invalidated. The court said that while this "individual mandate" exceeded Congress' power to regulate commerce, it could be upheld as an exercise of Congress' taxing power.

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"Zeroing out the individual mandate penalty should not result in striking important consumer protections", America's Health Insurance Plans said in a statement. Yet he has granted standing to a group of 17 Democratic-led states that filed a brief on Thursday night arguing for the preservation of Obamacare, and will no doubt give them a fair hearing.

The Department of Justice said it agrees with Texas that the so-called individual mandate will be unconstitutional without the fine.

And the Justice Department says it agrees with those states, and it will not defend some of the key remaining provisions in the law.

If the administration prevails in the case, the full force of the decision would not hit until after the midterm elections on November 6. Under another provision, the community rating provision, insurers were not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history.

Diabetes, pregnancy and arthritis are all considered a pre-existing condition.

The main trade association for health insurers came out strongly against the administration's position.

"In other words, people can once again be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions or be charged more", Jost said.

The Trump administration's startling decision to abandon one of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions - protections for people with preexisting medical conditions - put Republicans on the defensive Friday and handed Democrats a potentially potent political message. In this case, California is leading a group of Democrat-led states in defending the law. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a statement. "This is a sad moment". Other findings include: health insurance gains were largest for adults without a college degree; long term and short term un-insurance rates declined; use of primary care, mental health services and preventive care among enrollees increased; as well as more low and moderate care adults had more regular source of care; and reliance on ER departments decreased. 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. "Such withdrawals are exceedingly rare - typically only when the argument is indefensible, as they are here".

In parting company with the challenging states on their demand that all of the ACA be nullified, the Administration document said it was hypothetical speculation whether the entire program would collapse without the individual mandate and the related insurance coverage requirements. Conservatives at the time accused the Justice Department of politicization.

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. In May, the court allowed them to "intervene" in the case.

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