Trump Seeks End to Pre-existing Condition Mandate

The Trump administration is calling a key part of Obamacare that protects individuals with pre-existing conditions unconstitutional

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) delivers remarks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 21, 2018.

These consumer protections proved enormously popular with Americans and are among the reasons why efforts to repeal Obamacare in Congress failed past year. Health officials halved the sign-up period to buy ACA health plans, cutting from $100 million to $10 million an advertising budget to help encourage consumers to sign up, and slashed funds for grass-roots organizations that helped people enroll.

Equally notable, three career prosecutors in the department withdrew from the case just before the administration announced the decision not to defend the health care law. It will add fuel to Democrats' efforts to make health care a campaign issue in the mid-term elections. Now they have a new talking point, and they lost no time testing it. This policy change would jeopardize coverage not just for consumers in the individual market, but also people with preexisting conditions who have employer-sponsored coverage.

What happens now? Democrats will gleefully hammer away on Republicans for doing this.

Mr. MacArthur said it would be hard for Congress to revisit the brutal health care fight, although it's unclear if the lawsuit will get "any legs under it".

This is not the first move the Trump administration has taken that would undermine Obamacare's consumer protections. For starters, it's pretty rare for the DOJ (under any party's control) to come out against an existing US law since it's generally in the business of trying to defend the law's constitutionality. The policy, unlike some elements of the Affordable Care Act, has widespread support, affecting approximately 52 million Americans under the age of 65, according to a 2016 analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation. O'Connor was appointed by George W. Bush and recently ruled that health care providers can not be forced to perform procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs.

"President Trump promised the American people health care that is "far less expensive and far better".

The issue became a flash point that helped derail Republican efforts to repeal the law past year, with opponents of the party's health bills speaking loudly against weakening protections for the sick and vulnerable. On Friday, Democratic members of the House of Representatives were furious. "Pre-existing conditions have gotten to be an issue that people walking on the streets understand ... it's very emotional".

However, the Trump administration believes that the provision of the ACA guaranteeing affordable rates to those with pre-existing conditions must be thrown out with the individual mandate.

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It's so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care - gasp! - a reality. "Congress has now kicked that flimsy support from beneath the law". Lance, who faces a tough reelection race, distanced himself from his party's health-care legislation and the tax law that repealed the individual mandate.

If there is no tax penalty for not buying insurance now, then no taxation is taking place, so the other parts of the law tied to the individual mandate must go, the 20 GOP attorneys general argue.

Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the lawsuit said that without the individual mandate, Obamacare in its entirety was unlawful.

The Trump administration said in a court filing late Thursday it will no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the requirement that people have health insurance and provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions. The move could upend insurance markets for next year and change the dynamic of this fall's elections.

The same report estimates 391,000 Utahns have pre-existing conditions that could affect their coverage eligibility.

But the administration disagrees with that position. And America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), an association for the nation's health insurers, issued a statement saying that the end of the individual mandate should not mean a loss of consumer protections for patients. We also agree that the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) provisions affecting Medicaid, Medicare Advantage, and Medicare Part D should remain law. "This is a sad moment".

Despite the Justice Department position, the Health and Human Services Department has continued to apply the health law. That was what five Justices of the Supreme Court said when a different combination of five Justices voted to uphold the mandate as a form of tax. "Such withdrawals are exceedingly rare - typically only when the argument is indefensible, as they are here".

If Democrats don't repeat that sentence a thousand times a day between now and November, they're nuts.

The new challenge comes six years after the Supreme Court's divided ruling that the ACA is constitutional.

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