Trump Justice Dept. Asks Court of Appeals to Erase Obamacare

Trump Justice Dept. Asks Court of Appeals to Erase Obamacare

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reversed course and is now supporting a federal district judge's decision that declared the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.

And while the US Court of Appeals in New Orleans that's handling the matter is known for its conservatism, Congress'decision in 2017 to remove the penalty for not having coverage means Texas and its allies could have problems proving any harm to give them grounds for their challenge.

Earlier, the Trump Administration took the unusual step of deciding not to defend the legality of the individual mandate and also coming out in favor of eliminating protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.

"On the very first day that the Democratic Majority held the gavel, the House of Representatives voted to intervene against Republicans' monstrous health care lawsuit to defend people with pre-existing conditions and the health care of all Americans", Pelosi said in a statement.

Millions of people benefit from the ACA's taxpayer-subsidized private insurance plans, but enrollment is declining.

"The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's judgment should be affirmed", said a terse letter from Assistant Attorney General Joseph "Jody" Hunt to the appeals court handling the case. In December the district court judge decided a zero-dollar penalty was no longer a tax and hence undermined the constitutionality of the entire law. "In two short sentences, the Trump administration crystallized its position that the health care coverage enjoyed by almost 20 million people, as well as the protections by tens of millions more with preexisting conditions, should be annihilated", he said. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the rest of the law, including Medicaid expansion, can remain in place.

The Supreme Court originally upheld ObamaCare on the basis that the mandate was somehow a tax.

House Democrats are reportedly livid and are calling the move "unconscionable". Upending the law could prove politically risky for the Trump Administration and Republicans who are backing the law's repeal. "Millions of people would lose their health care coverage, and a host of seemingly unrelated policies - including new experiments in how Medicare pays for care and an entire class of prescription drugs - would also go out the window".

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Tuesday that the Trump administration's shift in position on Obamacare was "an opportunity for Democrats to speak to the American people with clarity".

"Millions of Americans will be denied affordable health care", the House lawyers wrote.

Signed almost 10 years ago, the health law remains in place while the lawsuit continues. He has continually scapegoated John McCain for his part in rejecting an attempt to overhaul health care, even doing so after the revered senator died previous year. Building the wall was one of his most oft-repeated campaign promises, though he claimed the money would come from Mexico. That's a worrisome sign for backers of the ACA, who say the Trump administration's cuts to the ad budget and congressional repeal of a requirement that people get insured will gradually eat away at program enrolment. Democrats fear that unless younger, healthier people sign up, already-high premiums will grow exponentially.

Since Trump took office, the federal health insurance market, HealthCare.gov, has lost more than 1 million customers.

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