Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Trump Administration Move Imperils Pre-Existing Condition Protections

Trump Administration Move Imperils Pre-Existing Condition Protections

The Trump administration's move drew strong criticism from defenders of the health care law and some legal scholars, who noted how unusual it is for the Justice Department not to defend federal law. The individual mandate required most Americans to maintain minimum insurance or to pay a tax penalty.

Weighing in on a Texas challenge to the health law, the Justice Department argued that legally and practically the popular consumer protections can not be separated from the unpopular insurance mandate, which Congress has repealed, effective next year.

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. United States, the Trump administration does not argue that the individual mandate is "inseverable" from the ACA as a whole, but rather contending that it is only inextricably linked to those provisions which "guarantee issuance of coverage in the individual and group market" and those "prohibiting discriminatory premium rates".

"The Justice Department has an obligation to defend the law, and it has refused to do so because it dislikes this particular law", Bagley told USA TODAY.

Among them is Andy Kim, a former Obama administration national security aide who is running to unseat New Jersey Republican Representative Tom MacArthur, sponsor of an amendment to the GOP's 2017 Obamacare repeal that allowed states to seek waivers to charge higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter to Congress that Trump, who campaigned on repealing the law and almost did so his first year in office, approved the legal strategy. Why it matters: Protections for people with pre-existing conditions are hugely popular, and the administration may have handed Democrats their strongest health care weapon yet - because now they can make the case that the administration has gone to court to take away protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

As many as 130 million adults under age 65 in the USA have pre-existing conditions that could result in their not being able to get insurance coverage in the private market, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Yet he has granted standing to a group of 17 Democratic-led states that filed a brief on Thursday night arguing for the preservation of Obamacare, and will no doubt give them a fair hearing. One of their replacements is Brett Shumate, described by the Times as "a Trump administration political appointee in the civil division of the Justice Department who has played a leading role in defending the White House in a range of lawsuits". In that, lawmakers made a decision to eliminate the tax penalty the ACA requires people to pay if they flout the insurance mandate.

Despite this conclusion about the commerce clause, however, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the four liberals to uphold the individual mandate on the ground that it was a tax, and therefore fell within Congress's separate taxing power. "United States are correct that Section 5000A (a) [the individual mandate] will be unconstitutional when the Jobs Act's amendment becomes effective in 2019".

The second is the community rating provision.

"This suit comes as insurers are proposing individual market premiums for 2019".

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Collins said both parties "need to work together to address the instability and high costs plaguing our health care system". They must grapple with how to protect the state's insurance market amid a continued assault against the federal health law. If the Justice Department's analysis is ultimately persuasive, however, other parts of the law, including Medicaid expansion, could stay in place.

The Supreme Court is considering some of the issues this term.

The state has been at the forefront in resisting many Trump Administration policies, including on health care and immigration.

Analysts at Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors Service have said that large health insurers' remaining individual major medical operations look stable right now, but that uncertainty about ACA rules and subsidies could cause problems in the future.

Legal specialists also point out that the Trump administration's failure to defend the federal health law could have long-lasting implications for the rule of law in the nation.

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