Democrats see opportunity in Trump administration's dismissal of ACA

  • Democrats see opportunity in Trump administration's dismissal of ACA

Democrats see opportunity in Trump administration's dismissal of ACA

Three attorneys for the government withdrew from the case just minutes before the Justice Department's filing in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, which signaled an internal rift within the administration over its role in defending USA law, according to University of Michigan Law Professor Nicholas Bagley. They included provisions establishing health insurance exchanges, expanding Medicaid coverage and subsidizing premiums for lower-income people.

The Justice Department's decision was announced Thursday in a filing in federal court in Texas.

Most of the discussion of the Trump administration's decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act - and to urge the courts to throw out its protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions - has focused on what happens to the individual insurance market.

And Tim Hogan, a spokesman for Health Care Voters, a Democratic group looking to mobilize voters on the health care issue, called the decision a "blatant sabotage of the Affordable Care Act" and "something Republican members of Congress will have to explain to their constituents".

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision.

"The American public widely supports retaining protections for pre-existing conditions". Health insurers are now deciding whether to sell coverage in the individual market in 2019 - and what they're going to charge.

The federal courts have no power to strike down those other provisions, since they can be severed from the parts of the ACA that will fall when the tax penalty ends at the opening of next year, the government argued. But it did say that the ACA provisions on pre-existing conditions are so linked to the individual mandate that it should now be struck down.

Texas and other states that oppose the ACA have responded by filing a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Twenty Republican state attorneys general filed suit on February 26, charging that Congress' changes to the law in last year's tax bill rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional.

President Donald Trump's legal team has made a move that could kill a key part of the Affordable Care Act, disrupt the individual major medical market in 2019, and leave most of the ACA intact.

Congressional Republicans, who unsuccessfully sought to undo President Barack Obama's signature health care law throughout 2017, added language to the GOP tax bill that ended the controversial tax penalty for those who fail to obtain health care coverage. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by 16 other attorneys general, said in April he would "vigorously" defend the ACA. The Trump administration also argued that the ACA's guaranteed issue and community rating requirement, which ban insurers from denying coverage or charging people more based on their health, can only work in tandem with the mandate and must also be invalidated.

Yesterday, the Trump administration's Department of Justice dropped a bombshell in a rural Texas federal courthouse. Now that Congress has chose to zero out the penalty, as Republicans did a year ago as part of the 2017 tax cut, the pre-existing conditions have to go, too.

For years Democrats ran from the health-care issue as though it were a heap of flaming rubble, which, politically speaking, it was. That in turn would create a "death spiral" for insurance under the ACA, as insurance costs went up.

"You can definitely assume Democrats will use it to whip up their side", said Wilensky, administrator of Medicare under former President George H.W. Bush. 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.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlighted the two provisions in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

"It's highly unlikely NY would take away consumer protections it has put in place", said a spokeswoman for the state Health Plan Association. "Next year, when that penalty is no longer going to apply, more people are going to want to have a good health insurance option that is not ObamaCare-qualified, and they don't have those options right now".

Today, surveys suggest most Americans see the legislation in a generally positive light, a reversal from most of its eight-year history. By withdrawing from defending the law in court, the Trump administration is saying it no longer supports those consumer protections, which are popular with voters.

Democrats "are responsible for the current problems that we have in our healthcare system as a result of Obamacare", said Hunt, noting the law passed without a single Republican vote.