Monday, 15 October, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not defend Affordable Care Act's individual mandate

Obamacare Screnshot of the
Samantha Long | 11 June, 2018, 07:36

Twenty states are suing the federal government, saying the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional now that Congress has repealed the fine for people who do not have health insurance.

A Trump administration decision not to defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit seeking to dismantle it could cause chaos and deprive Americans of coverage, local politicians, providers and insurers said on Friday.

What it means: If successful, the states' lawsuit would allow insurers to charge much higher rates to people with pre-existing conditions, or deny them coverage altogether, effectively ending the ACA's promise of providing health care for all Americans.

Since he took office in January 2017, Becerra has emerged as a top opponent of the Trump administration, filing more than 30 lawsuits on health care and other issues.

In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate - requiring Americans to purchase insurance and exacting a yearly financial penalty from those who don't - was not a constitutional use of the Commerce Clause, but that it was a lawful use of Congress' authority to require taxes.

The Justice Department did not go that far.

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 states argue that after Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate a year ago, effective in 2019, it destabilized other sections of the law. The brief was filed in Texas v. Azar, a case brought in February by Texas and 19 other Republican-led states.

Supporters of the health care law expressed considerable alarm on Friday.

Republicans have tried to blunt this tactic with a revival of what launched them into power in 2010: By arguing Democrats are hellbent on taking over all aspects of the health care system. But the court will take notice that the Trump administration has switched sides.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted against the Republican repeal bills in the Senate previous year, also expressed concern about the administration's new push, saying it "creates further uncertainty that could ultimately result in higher costs for millions of Americans and undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes". As you may recall, it was the GOP who created this situation by doing away with the individual mandate as part of its larger tax reform legislation.

Trump, Trudeau exchange trade barbs at G-7
Trump fired off a pair of tweets several hours after leaving the summit in Canada to fly to Singapore for another on North Korea. As they departed it became clear that many are still searching for ways to deal with the unpredictable United States leader.

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....

"At the very least it adds uncertainty at exactly the moment when plans are trying to set rates for next year", said Ceci Connolly, the chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans.

Epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, lupus, sleep apnea, and pregnancy are all examples of pre-existing conditions. But the lawsuit has been filed in a conservative court in Texas, and the Trump administration's refusal to defend key parts of the law has likely boosted the plaintiffs' chances.

Bailey's spokesman Corey Uhden said Friday that he wouldn't comment on the constitutionality of the ACA provisions.

Just hours before the Justice Department officially withdrew from the case, three of the staff attorneys who had been working on it withdrew. United States is an unprecedented dereliction of duty by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

In May, the court allowed more than a dozen state attorneys general, all Democrats, to "intervene" in the case and defend the law.

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.

Those with pre-existing conditions should continue being guaranteed coverage at affordable rates, said Orange County Legislator James O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney's 18th District seat. "Our coalition of states and partners across the country will fight any effort to strip families of their health insurance", he said. Cortez ScottBishop from royal wedding marches to White House Bishop from royal wedding to march against "America First" policies in DC Supreme Court upholds agreements that prevent employee class-action suits MORE (Va.), Frank Pallone Jr.

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.

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