Trump administration's latest attack on Obamacare would gut protections for the sick

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Unless you have been vacationing in a far away galaxy, you will have heard the ululations of Obamacare apologists enraged by the Trump administration's refusal to defend the health care law against a 20-state lawsuit challenging its constitutionality.Obamacare advocates claim that the failure to defend the ACA in Texas v.

But Sessions also said that he agrees with the Department of Justice's opinion at the time of the 2012 case, that if the mandate is unconstitutional, it is separate from the ACA's other provisions, except those guaranteeing issuance of coverage in the individual and group market.

"As of 2019, therefore, the individual mandate will be unconstitutional under controlling Supreme Court precedent holding that 'the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance, '" the brief says.

Texas and other states that oppose the ACA have responded by filing a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Democrats are seeking to tie the move into their argument that the Trump administration is "sabotaging" health care and driving up premiums, a key midterm message.

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

Even President Donald Trump called it one of the law's "strongest assets" during an interview with "60 Minutes" shortly after he won the election. "The Trump Administration is perpetuating the same cruel vision of higher costs and less coverage that House Republicans voted for in the monstrosity of Trumpcare".

Margarita Mills (left), an insurance agent from Sunshine Life and Health Advisors, speaks with Daniela Morales as she shops for insurance under the Affordable Care Act at a store set up in the Mall of Americas, on November 1, 2017, in Miami.

Guaranteed issue requires insurers to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their medical history.

Parts of the package created the ACA public exchange system and set underwriting and benefits rules for health coverage. 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. With President Trump's tax reform package in December 2017 removing the individual mandate requirement as a tax penalty, the last remaining reasoning to having a mandate fell apart, the suit argues. "These are people who defend programs they disagree with all the time".

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

Timothy Jost, law professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University in Virginia said the Trump administration is trying to persuade the court to do what it was unable to achieve in Congress a year ago - essentially, repeal key parts of the Obama health law.

On Friday, America's Health Insurance Plans, an insurance industry trade group, criticized the federal government's filing. Texas and other Republican-led states, including Utah, sued in February to strike down the entire law because Congress recently repealed a provision that people without health insurance must pay a fine.

"This is yet another malicious Republican attack that will undermine the stability of our healthcare system, and could once again mean that you or a loved one are denied healthcare because of a pre-existing condition", said Meredith Kelly, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

That's not so surprising considering more than 52 million non-elderly Americans have health conditions that could have rendered them uninsurable prior to Obamacare, a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found.

"Withdrawing from a case en masse like this, right before the brief is filed, is unheard of", noted Nicholas Bagley, a former Justice Department lawyer who now teaches at the University of Michigan Law School.

If the judge agrees, "insurers would want to discontinue" health plans that treat healthy and sick customers the same, predicted Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Margaret Murray, the chief executive of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, which represents plans for low-income and vulnerable populations, said that anyone who has bought individual insurance "and has had so much as a case of asthma in their past should be deeply unsettled by the choices this administration has made".

However, the Trump administration believes 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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