Trump administration: Heart of health law unconstitutional

Donald Trump

Nevertheless, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, criticized the Trump administration in a statement. It is asking a court to throw out major elements, including hugely popular provisions that protect sick people from being denied health insurance or charged higher rates.

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.

To the approximately 27 percent of Americans under 65 who have a pre-existing condition, Trump's initial promise was a relief.

"To not cover them at all, that's a problem", he said.

Q: What did Congress do to start this latest round of court action? "Picking this fight going into the summer of an election year is mind-boggling". 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.

"This lawsuit is less about altering the law and more about blowing it up", Levitt said.

Andy Kim, a former Obama administration staffer, is making coverage of pre-existing conditions and access to affordable health care a key part of his campaign against Rep. Tom MacArthur in Central New Jersey, the author of the Obamacare repeal bill that passed the House but failed in the Senate previous year.

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. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., a spokesman for his party on health care.

As many as 130 million adults under age 65 in the US have pre-existing conditions that could result in their not being able to get insurance coverage in the private market, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Republicans have been trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act - a centerpiece of President Barack Obama's legacy - since it was enacted in 2010 without any Republican votes. "Congress has now kicked that flimsy support from beneath the law".

The long-shot lawsuit argues that because Republicans repealed the ACA's individual mandate penalty as part of their tax overhaul, all of the remaining law is unconstitutional.

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The U.S. Supreme Court had upheld the law's individual mandate in 2012 under Congress' taxing power.

The case in Texas, which has attracted relatively little notice until now, emerges from the massive tax bill Congress passed late a year ago. The lawsuit, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, contends that without an individual mandate, the entirety of the ACA, commonly known as Obamacare, is unconstitutional.

The Department of Justice said it agrees with Texas that the so-called individual mandate will be unconstitutional without the fine.

If the administration prevails in the case, the full force of the decision would not hit until after the midterm elections on November 6.

Epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, lupus, sleep apnea, and pregnancy are all examples of pre-existing conditions.

The main trade association for health insurers came out strongly against the administration's position.

Besides urging nullification of the insurance-buying mandate itself, the new government position argued that two of the most popular features of the ACA must fall along with it: the requirement that insurance companies can not deny health insurance to individuals because of existing or pre-existing medical conditions, and the requirement that they can not charge higher insurance premiums based on existing or pre-existing conditions.

The Trump administration's move fueled accusations that it was politicizing the Justice Department, which is supposed to defend the constitutionality of federal statutes in court - even if the administration in power does not like them - if reasonable arguments can be made.

Meanwhile, California and several other states filed a motion to intervene to defend the law. He recently ruled that 16 other states and the District of Columbia could join in the case formally to defend the ACA against the challenge. "It's being mugged", King said in a twitter statement on Friday. "This is a sad moment".

Dismantling the ACA could "push people into positions where they have to make decisions on whether they're going to get treatment or whether they're going to eat", said Charlie Quinn, CEO of RECAP, an Orange County nonprofit that provides social services. Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr., New Jersey, Education and the Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott, Virginia, and Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal, Massachusetts, said the move by the DOJ breaks with the department's tradition of defending federal laws, regardless of whether it supports the underlying policies. "Such withdrawals are exceedingly rare - typically only when the argument is indefensible, as they are here".

Texas said that without the fine in place the requirement to have health insurance is unconstitutional and the entire law should be struck down as a result. Conservatives at the time accused the Justice Department of politicization.

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