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Insurer lobby group weighs in on Obamacare individual mandate case

10 June 2018

"The administration's attempt to eliminate protections for the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions is just the latest - and potentially the most damaging - example of the coordinated effort by congressional Republicans and the Trump administration to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, driving up uninsured rates and out-of-pocket costs for Americans", the Democrats said.

The Trump administration delivered an early midterms present to Democrats Thursday night when the Justice Department made a decision to side with 20 GOP states in a lawsuit seeking to gut the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the Democratic front-runner in the race for California's next governor, breathed the same fire as Becerra against the federal government on Friday.

"The DOJ has now acknowledged the problems with the statute".

Yesterday, the Trump administration's Department of Justice dropped a bombshell in a rural Texas federal courthouse.

The case was brought in February by the attorney general of Texas backed by Republican counterparts and governors in 19 other states.

Removing consumer friendly provisions like guaranteed issue, whereby health insurers can not deny coverage to applicants or charge more based on health status, will result in renewed uncertainty in the market as well as push up rates for older and sicker patients, AHIP added.

The Department of Justice said it agrees with Texas that the so-called individual mandate will be unconstitutional without the fine. He said the department only refused to defend the pre-existing conditions provision as well as one forbidding insurers from charging people in the same community different rates based on gender, age, health status or other factors. John McCain's dramatic "thumbs down" vote last July, the Trump administration has taken other steps that Obamacare advocates say weaken the law. Andy Slavitt, who ran the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President Obama, tweeted that the Justice Department's decision is the "biggest health care news of the year" and a blow to public health. When the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act zeroed out the tax penalty amount as of 2019, the individual responsibility became entirely unconstitutional.

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.

America's Health Insurance Plans, a major lobby for insurers, said in a statement that although premiums for next year will increase because the individual mandate penalty for not carrying insurance is being zeroed out in 2019, the market has been stabilizing.

"Zeroing out the individual mandate penalty should not result in striking important consumer protections", the group said.

FILE - Stacy Stanford attends a rally to Support Healthy Utah at the State Capitol Building in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 5, 2015.

On April 26, 2018, the plaintiff states, joined by two individual plaintiffs, asked the court to enter a preliminary injunction invalidating the law.

Why they did it: Republicans have targeted the Affordable Care Act for elimination ever since it passed, and President Trump continues to promise that it will be overturned.

The same report estimates 391,000 Utahns have pre-existing conditions that could affect their coverage eligibility. "The Department will not defend the constitutionality" of the Affordable Care Act. "The pre-existing condition protections are extremely popular on both sides of the aisle".

The three-page letter to Pelosi from Attorney General Jeff Sessions begins by saying that Justice adopted its position "with the approval of the President of the United States".

Insurer lobby group weighs in on Obamacare individual mandate case