The Trump administration declared that it no longer will defend the Affordable Care Act from a challenge filed by 20 states because it agrees that the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional and that key parts of the act - including the provisions protecting those with pre-existing conditions - are invalid.
A group of 20 USA states sued the federal government in February, claiming the law was no longer constitutional after last year's repeal of that penalty that individuals had to pay for not having insurance.
The U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday that the part of Obamacare requiring individuals to have health insurance is unconstitutional, an unusual move that could lead to stripping away some of the most significant and popular parts of the law.
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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How much you might feel the impact will also depend on where you live and whether you qualify for tax subsidies that significantly lower the cost of health insurance and, in some cases, make it free for lower-income people.
On April 26, 2018, the plaintiff states, joined by two individual plaintiffs, asked the court to enter a preliminary injunction invalidating the law. In this case, California is leading a group of Democrat-led states in defending the law.
As a result, the Texas lawsuit contends, "the country is left with an individual mandate to buy health insurance that lacks any constitutional basis". As a result, the entire remainder of the ACA must be upheld, even if the court finds the mandate unconstitutional.
The state has been at the forefront in resisting many Trump Administration policies, including on health care and immigration. And it has become apparent that, whatever may have been thought in 2010, the individual market can remain stable without the mandate.
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Bailey's spokesman Corey Uhden said Friday that he wouldn't comment on the constitutionality of the ACA provisions. But Martin S. Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Obama administration, called the mass withdrawal a likely sign of distress. There is reason to believe the judge may accept the Trump administration's arguments. The administration's argument would also allow insurers to charge women, older people, and people in certain occupations higher premiums.
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". "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", they said in a joint statement. That ruling hinged on the reasoning that, while the government "does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance", as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the majority, it "does have the power to impose a tax on those without health insurance".
More recently, the White House and Department of Health and Human Services have been working to make it easier for consumers to buy relatively affordable health plans that exclude some of the benefits the ACA requires.
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