The 'Biggest Health Care News of the Year'

The 'Biggest Health Care News of the Year'

At issue is a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican state attorneys general on February 26, which charged that Congress' changes to the law in last year's tax bill rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional.

The Trump administration said Thursday night that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act against the latest legal challenge to its constitutionality - a dramatic break from the executive branch's tradition of arguing to uphold existing statutes and a land mine for health insurance changes the ACA brought about.

The Democrats argued that DOJ's refusal to defend the controversial health care law could eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and "have profound consequences for patients, the health care system and the American economy".

These sections of the law, along with the mandate that insurers provide comprehensive coverage, are the bedrock of Obamacare's protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

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Yesterday, the Trump administration's Department of Justice dropped a bombshell in a rural Texas federal courthouse.

It's a notable stance that means it will be up to Obamacare fans such as Democratic governors to step in and defend the Affordable Care Act against on onslaught from GOP attorneys general, who say after Congress nixed the individual mandate at the heart of the law, the rest of it should follow.

Texas and the accompanying states have asked for a preliminary injunction that could suspend the entire law while the case plays out in court. It also says that provisions shielding people with medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums and limiting how much insurers can charge older Americans should fall as well.

That argument is likely to be lost on consumers, said Robert Blendon, a polling expert at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health - particularly in the heat of an election that will determine control of Congress. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the brief is an attempt to use the courts to do what Congress was unwilling to do: repeal major consumer protections of the ACA.

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"So many families from every political persuasion will lose the ability to find and purchase coverage because they have a pre-existing condition", Wood said.

Texas says that without the fine in place the requirement to have health insurance is unconstitutional and that the entire law should be struck down as a result. In this case, California is leading a group of Democrat-led states in defending the law.

Bailey's spokesman Corey Uhden said Friday that he wouldn't comment on the constitutionality of the ACA provisions.

If the court agrees with the Justice Department's argument to toss out part of the law that protects individuals with an existing medical condition, that could affect millions of Americans who buy insurance directly from the marketplace.

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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. Andy Slavitt, who led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Barack Obama, called the action "the biggest health care news of the year" on Twitter. Tellingly, three career Justice Department attorneys withdrew from representing the United States immediately before filing the brief, apparently unwilling to sign their names to a legally questionable brief.

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