The Trump administration said in a court filing late Thursday that 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 Justice Department, in backing the state's argument, is seeking to strike down two of Obamacare's most popular provisions: the rule that insurance companies can't turn someone away or charge them more based on a pre-existing condition, and the rule that limits how much insurers can charge older patients for their premiums.
Many lawmakers were playing catch-up with the fledgling case, though Rep. Michael Burgess, Texas Republican, said there could be a "silver lining" if the courts force Congress to revisit heath care under the threat of losing Obamacare's protections for people with pre-existing conditions next year. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente. It takes effect next year.
Two months later, Texas and the 19 other states filed suit in U.S. District Court in Fort Worth, asserting that the mandate could no longer be justified as a tax and should therefore be struck down - and arguing that as a result, the rest of the law must be invalidated, too.
The administration's decision also is likely to further roil insurance markets that are seeing very large premium increases, fed in part by other moves by the Trump administration to loosen insurance regulations. Collins, who voted against the Republican bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the Senate previous year, also expressed concern about the administration's new push to undo it. Last October, the president unilaterally ended a significant part of the law that cushions insurers financially from an obligation to give discounts to decrease out-of-pocket costs to lower-income customers with ACA coverage.
Health care is already a dominant issue in this year's elections, with voters regularly citing it as a leading determinant for how they will vote.
The Department of Justice said Thursday that it will not defend the constitutionality of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit now underway in Texas.
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.
"Tonight, as the president and his administration launch their most unsafe sabotage effort yet, we are seeing just how far Republicans are willing to go in their quest to undermine the American health care system", said Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care, an advocacy group staffed with many Obama administration alums. "Zeroing out the individual mandate penalty should not result in striking important consumer protections, such as guaranteed issue and community rating rules that help those with pre-existing conditions".
"I urge Congressman MacArthur publicly demands that President Trump defends protections for pre-existing conditions and upholds the ACA immediately, so our premiums and medical bills don't skyrocket even further", Kim said in a statement responding to Thursday's decision. Not only may health insurance continue getting less affordable, they even want to take away the pre-existing conditions protection you now enjoy, all while they're working hard to destabilize the private insurance market.
"If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is challenged in court, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books", wrote Bagley.
That penalty, Texas and the other conservative states argue, is so central to the law that without it, the rest can not stand.
But the administration disagrees with that position.
The Washington Post reported that three career Justice attorneys involved in the case - Joel McElvain, Eric Beckenhauer and Rebecca Kopplin - withdrew before the filing at 6 p.m. Thursday, an unusual time for such an action. These are lawyers who have made arguments they personally disagreed with countless times.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Sessions acknowledged that the executive branch typically defends existing federal law, but he concluded that this is a "rare case where the proper course is to forgo" defense of the individual mandate. "Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are using the people as political pawns". The lawsuit will be heard by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor of the Northern District of Texas. United States has its roots in another legal travesty that these people also celebrated - the 2012 Supreme Court ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius.