Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

U.S. Justice Department says Obamacare individual mandate unconstitutional

Samantha Long | 09 June, 2018, 15:42

The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate-which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a "tax" if they don't-and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated.

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, and other House Democrats condemned the Trump administration Friday after the Justice Department announced it would not defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

It said that the requirement that people have health insurance - the individual mandate - was unconstitutional and that the entire law, including provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions, should be struck down as a result.

In a brief filed in a Texas federal court, the Justice Department said the ACA's individual mandate - which required most Americans to carry health insurance - can no longer be interpreted as a tax "because it will raise no revenue as Congress has eliminated the monetary penalty".

But it says the rest of the law, including Medicaid expansion, can remain in place.

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.

What to do if you suspect someone is suicidal
Vermont is home to a high proportion of white people, and whites as a group have higher suicide rates than ethnic groups . Buhse said anyone anxious about a friend or loved one should check in on them and use a direct approach.

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.

A group of 20 US states sued the federal government in February, claiming the law was no longer constitutional after last year's repeal of that penalty that individuals had to pay for not having insurance.

"I find it impossible to believe that the many talented lawyers at the department could not come up with any arguments to defend the ACA's insurance market reforms, which have made such a difference to millions of Americans", Verrilli said. 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.

Nevertheless, the Justice Department's position did not go quite as far as the Texas suit.

Insurers, meanwhile, warned that the administration's actions could rock the individual market and could lead to higher premiums, especially for those battling illnesses.

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