Trump Seeks End to Pre-existing Condition Mandate

Desiree Burns
Июня 9, 2018

A brief filed Thursday by the Justice Department asks a federal court to end protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, many of whom had been unable to buy individual insurance before the 2010 law known as Obamacare took effect.

In a brief filed in a federal court in Texas, the department said a tax law signed a year ago by President Donald Trump that eliminated penalties for not having health insurance rendered the so-called individual mandate under Obamacare unconstitutional.

The long-shot lawsuit argues that because Republicans repealed the ACA's individual mandate penalty as part of their tax overhaul, all of the remaining law is unconstitutional.

"The administration's attempt to eliminate protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions is just the latest - and potentially the most damaging - example of the coordinated effort by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, driving up uninsured rates and out-of-pocket costs for Americans", the Democrats said.

The chances for that argument succeeding are viewed with deep skepticism by legal experts, in part because Congress itself indicated that the rest of ObamaCare could still stand without the mandate when it moved to repeal the tax penalty previous year. The Justice Department, in backing the state's argument, is seeking to strike down two of Obamacare's most popular provisions: the rule that insurance companies can't turn someone away or charge them more based on a pre-existing condition, and the rule that limits how much insurers can charge older patients for their premiums.

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The Trump administration is siding with Texas in the state's bid to convince a federal judge that Obamacare is largely unconstitutional.

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.

"Justice Department attorneys don't withdraw from cases simply because the government is making an argument the lawyers think the courts should or would reject", he said.

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

"The question is, what does this do to insurance markets now?" said Jost.

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