This came through last week.
The Justice Department will not defend the Affordable Care Act in court, and says it believes the law’s individual mandate — the provision the Supreme Court upheld in 2012 — has become unconstitutional.
Why it matters: The Justice Department almost always defends federal laws when they’re challenged in court. Its departure from that norm in this case is a major development — career DOJ lawyers removed themselves from the case as the department announced this shift in its position.
The details: The ACA’s individual mandate requires most people to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty. The Supreme Court upheld that in 2012 as a valid use of Congress’ taxing power.
When Congress claimed it repealed the individual mandate last year, what it actually did was drop the tax penalty to $0.
So the coverage requirement itself is still technically on the books. And a group of Republican attorneys general, representing states led by Texas, say it’s now unconstitutional — because the specific penalty the Supreme Court upheld is no longer in effect.
The Justice Department agreed with that position in a brief filed Thursday night.
DOJ said the courts should strike down the coverage requirement, as well as the provision of the law that forces insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions.
In its latest effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act — and in the process, raise premiums for many Americans — the Trump administration is urging a federal judge in Texas to throw out the law’s protections for people with preexisting conditions.
In other words, the administration wants insurers to be able to deny coverage to the people most in need of it, or to charge them considerably higher premiums than they’re allowed to charge today.
This is jaw-dropping. Even Republicans who’ve complained about Obamacare have been loath to undo the protections for people with preexisting conditions who are not covered by large employers’ health plans. That’s because the public supports them, and unequivocally so.
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in June 2017 showed that 70% of those polled, including 59% of Republicans, wanted Washington to continue barring insurers from charging people with preexisting conditions more for their coverage. Federal law has long provided such protection for people with health benefits at work; the ACA extended it to people shopping independently for insurance.
But then, the administration has done just about everything in its power to toss older, less healthy people under the bus if they’re unfortunate enough not to be covered by employer health insurance plans.
From Andy Slavitt:
Healthcare is WELFARE?
Let’s be clear-they want to take away healthcare from everyone, except for those who had it before Obamacare. If you have a pre-existing condition, you will be once again SOL.
Um no…they are only mad that he did this BEFORE the midterms. They aren’t coming out AGAINST what Dolt45 is proposing. Not in strong terms.
So, we have to tell everyone you know. Everywhere you go. Everyone knows someone with a pre-existing condition. Tell them that their vote in November 2018 LITERALLY could mean THEIR LIFE.