Sunday, 17 June, 2018

The Trump administration says Obamacare is unconstitutional: What it means to you

The Trump administration is calling a key part of Obamacare that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions unconstitutional The Trump Administration Is Using a New Tactic to Dismantle Obamacare. What You Need to Know About It
Melissa Porter | 11 June, 2018, 10:27

The Trump administration told a federal court Thursday it won't defend Obamacare against a lawsuit that's trying to strike down most of the law. 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.

In the court filing late Thursday, President Trump's administration said the department will no longer defend key parts of the ACA - also known as Obamacare - including the requirement that people have health insurance and provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions, drawing a dramatic reaction from Valley lawmakers. Not only may health insurance continue getting less affordable, they even want to take away the pre-existing conditions protection you now enjoy, all while they're working hard to destabilize the private insurance market.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a letter to House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, said he had determined the individual mandate will be unconstitutional when the tax law becomes effective in 2019.

"It's pretty simple: new legal position, new team".

In a filing in a federal trial court in Fort Worth, Texas, government lawyers urged the judge not to act immediately to bar enforcement of the mandate, saying it won't actually be unconstitutional until the tax penalty is set to expire on January 1 of next year.

Q: For consumers, what's the worst that could happen while the case is litigated? "If so, however, I am not aware of it".

Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a solicitor general in the Obama administration, said there were obviously reasonable arguments that could be made in defense of the Affordable Care Act in the Texas case, pointing to those in a brief filed Thursday by California and 15 other states.

It will likely take years for the case to wend its way through the courts, meaning the uncertainty could linger over insurers for some time, according to Spencer Perlman, an analyst at Veda Partners. Most famously, in 2012, a narrow majority led by Chief Justice John Roberts turned back a challenge that was also filed by Republican attorneys general along with the National Federation of Independent Business. But the court will take notice that the Trump administration has switched sides.

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. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, in a statement. "I'm mad as hell, and I'm ready to fight this with both fists up".

Defenders of Obamacare view this move by the Republicans as just the latest in a plot to undermine the monumental legislation however they can since they lack the necessary votes in Congress to repeal it officially.

"The decision by the Department of Justice to abandon critical patient protections is devastating for the millions of Americans who suffer from serious illnesses or have pre-existing conditions and rely on those protections under current law to obtain life-saving health care", wrote a coalition of patient advocacy groups, including the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. That included the expansion of Medicaid, allowing young people to stay on their parents' insurance up to age 26, and forbidding insurance companies from denying anyone coverage or charging them more because of pre-existing conditions, which just about all of us either already have or will one day have. Prior to the ACA, insurers often rejected applicants who were ill or had pre-existing conditions, or only offered them limited coverage. The Affordable Health Care Act also restricted insurance companies from charging higher premiums due to preexisting conditions.

These two provisions, which have proved extremely popular with Americans, forced major changes to the health insurance industry.

Health care is already a dominant issue in this year's elections, with voters regularly citing it as a leading determinant for how they will vote.

Republican Leonard Lance of New Jersey said the Justice Department should back off its effort, and said that if courts did rule against preexisting protections then Congress should act. "It is a rare step but a necessary one when it comes to this monumental and historic governmental move in the American health care system". If the court ends up siding with the Trump administration and the Republican states that brought the suit, the consequences would be significant, Perlman said.

Among those who said health care was the most important issue, 21 percent prefer GOP control of Congress, 67 percent Democratic control.