The 'Biggest Health Care News of the Year'

Desiree Burns
June 11, 2018

There are about 21 million people who do so, buying either through insurance brokers or from a state or federal Affordable Care Act marketplace.

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.

Most Republicans on Friday insisted they continued to support coverage for people with preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer. The Kaiser Family Foundation puts the number at about a quarter of the country's under-65 population. It was defended instead by House Republicans but declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2013. If the clause for preexisting conditions is removed, millions of individuals will be impacted. "I think that's a pretty essential pact with the American people", said MacArthur.

U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, said those with pre-existing conditions should not be denied coverage, but the ACA has "failed to deliver on its promise to reduce costs". "I don't know if that legal logic will fly or not". "But it's also political malpractice because you've handed us an issue we will ride into the sunset". Under another provision, the community rating provision, insurers were not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history. "Preexisting conditions is something everyone agreed we should keep". The companies were already nervous because of Congress's decision previous year to eliminate the penalty for going without health coverage. Republicans, in turn, were focused on calls by liberals such as Sen. It will add fuel to Democrats' efforts to make health care a campaign issue in the mid-term elections. 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. "As to the impact on the 2019 rates, a ruling from the federal court could take months and any decision would likely be appealed, taking even more time, during which time the existing law would remain in effect".

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

The Trump administration's move drew comparisons to the Obama administration's decision, in 2011, to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that barred federal recognition of same-sex unions that were lawful at the state level, and which the Supreme Court later struck down. "The brief filed by the Trump Administration yesterday represents a shocking break from precedent and relies on legally dubious, partisan claims to argue against the constitutionality of the current law".

Becerra estimated that the states that back the health care law could lose half a trillion dollars in health care funding if the suit is successful. The court held that Congress was able to offer people a choice: get insurance, or pay a tax. The lawsuit injects more uncertainty into what is already an uncertain environment for insurers.

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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.

If the judge agrees, "insurers would want to discontinue" health plans that treat healthy and sick customers the same, predicted Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The president has backed new rules that would allow for an expansion of skimpier health plans that do not have to cover a full range of health benefits.

"In light of yesterday's news that the Justice Department will no longer be defending the Affordable Care Act, a reminder: the ACA isn't collapsing".

By Friday morning, Democratic congressional candidates were jumping on the news as well, blasting out statements slamming the administration and vowing to fight to preserve the ACA's consumer protections.

Besides urging nullification of the insurance-buying mandate itself, the new government position argued that two of the most popular features of the ACA must fall along with it: the requirement that insurance companies can not deny health insurance to individuals because of existing or pre-existing medical conditions, and the requirement that they can not charge higher insurance premiums based on existing or pre-existing conditions.

Q: Who will defend the law now? Yet how they would do so was far from clear, especially given Congress' inability so far under the administration to pass health-care legislation. So, they have called on the trial court to strike down every part of the ACA, a massive law of more than 900 pages that Congress passed in 2010.

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