Trump Administration Won’t Defend Obamacare In Federal Case Brought By Republican-Led States
Trump Administration Won’t Defend Obamacare
The case was heard in Texas, one of the states that challenged the act. In a letter sent to congressmen and senators from both parties, the Justice Department led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it mostly agreed with the states’ legal challenge of the ACA, more commonly known as Obamacare. The Justice Department argued many key provisions of the ACA are unconstitutional, including the so-called individual mandate that says most Americans are required to have health insurance or face a penalty, which acted as a sort of tax.
Under Obamacare, insurance companies are not allowed to deny coverage or charge higher prices for healthcare to people with pre-existing conditions.
In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the Individual mandate of Obamacare, which was enacted in 2010 and also said Americans under the age of 26 could continue using their parents’ medical insurance plans. However, the Justice Department claimed that since Congress repealed the “tax” dictated by Obamacare last year, “the mandate and the law’s consumer protections can no longer be justified,” as the New York Times reported.
GOP lawmakers — who hold the majority in Congress — led by House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senator Mitch McConnell have repeatedly tried to pass a healthcare bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, but failed. Thus, the ACA remains the law of the land.
A brief field in a federal court in Fort Worth, Texas said the mandate can’t be considered a tax “because it will raise no revenue as Congress has eliminated the monetary penalty.” The $1.5 trillion tax cut Trump signed last December effectively assures that the tax penalties for people who don’t carry insurance will be removed next year.
Among Obamacare’s other provisions are the creation of health insurance marketplaces, premium subsidies for low-income individuals and an expansion of the Medicaid program that also benefits poor Americans. Virginia recently announced that it would expand Medicaid to cover 400,000 people next year, and other states like Nebraska and Idaho are believed to follow this move.
Meanwhile, 17 Democratic-led states also reportedly filed a brief Thursday to push for Obamacare’s preservation.