The 'Biggest Health Care News of the Year'

In a legal filing Thursday night, the Department of Justice said that key parts of Obamacare should be invalidated and that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

"Removing those provisions will result in renewed uncertainty in the individual market, create a patchwork of requirements in the states, cause rates to go even higher for older Americans and sicker patients, and make it challenging to introduce products and rates for 2019", said America's Health Insurance Plans, one of the industry's main lobbying groups. "The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented", the Post reported.

On June 7, California and the other states with Democratic attorneys general filed their response to the preliminary injunction motion.

Mark Showalter, chairman of the Department of Economics at BYU, contended that although protections for people with pre-existing conditions is a well-liked part of the law and the individual mandate penalty was considered deeply unpopular, the provisions are two sides of the same coin.

Becerra is leading an effort by Democratic attorney generals from others states and the District of Columbia to defend the ACA against that lawsuit. Legal experts are also skeptical the case will prevail and say it will take many months for a decision in the case, and the lawsuit could play out for years because of appeals.

The Department of Justice said Thursday that it will not defend the constitutionality of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit now underway in Texas.

Crusading against the ACA has been a priority of President Donald Trump since his campaign for the White House. Last October, the president unilaterally ended a significant part of the law that cushions insurers financially from an obligation to give discounts to decrease out-of-pocket costs to lower-income customers with ACA coverage. Ultimately, the case may be heading for the Supreme Court.

Democrats are seeking to tie the move into their argument that the Trump administration is "sabotaging" health care and driving up premiums, a key midterm message.

The case in Texas, which has attracted relatively little notice until now, emerges from the massive tax bill Congress passed late previous year. The court held that Congress was able to offer people a choice: get insurance, or pay a tax. The enforcement of that requirement will end in January.

The Department of Justice said it agrees with Texas that the so-called individual mandate will be unconstitutional without the fine. But the lawsuit argues that since the mandate can no longer raise any revenue, the mandate itself is now unconstitutional - and so is the entire ACA.

Stacy Stanford, policy analyst for the Utah Health Policy Project, a think tank and advocacy organization that is also a federal health exchange enrollment hub, said "the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land and therefore the administration should be defending it".

But the administration disagrees with that position.

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. But Texas handpicked the judge in the case, who has demonstrated his aversion to the ACA in other cases.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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