Trump administration tells court it won't defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act

The Trump administration won't defend central provisions of the Affordable Care Act, saying in a legal filing Thursda...

Posted: Jun 8, 2018 10:47 AM
Updated: Jun 8, 2018 10:47 AM

The Trump administration won't defend central provisions of the Affordable Care Act, saying in a legal filing Thursday night that key parts of the Affordable Care Act should be invalidated and that the individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The filing came in a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas and a coalition of other Republican-led states who have filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas challenging the constitutionally of the Affordable Care Act. The states argue that after Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate last year, effective in 2019, it destabilized other sections of the law.

"In its filing the DOJ said that it agrees with Texas that the individual mandate is now unconstitutional and therefore it will not defend key provisions of the law in the suit," said Timothy Jost, of Washington and Lee University School of Law.

The provisions DOJ says should be invalidated are central to the ACA and would gut protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Guaranteed issue requires insurers to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their medical history. Prior to the ACA, insurers often rejected applicants who were ill or had pre-existing conditions or only offered them limited coverage. Under another provision, the community rating provision, insurers were not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history.

These two provisions, which have proved extremely popular with Americans, forced major changes to the health insurance industry.

While they provide major protections to those with pre-existing conditions, they also have pushed up premiums for those who are young and healthy. This group of people would have likely been able to get less expensive policies prior to Obamacare.

The two provisions, along with Obamacare's requirement that insurers offer comprehensive coverage, have been targets of Republicans seeking to repeal the law and lower premiums.

In announcing the lawsuit back in February, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said, "The US Supreme Court already admitted that an individual mandate without a tax penalty is unconstitutional. With no remaining legitimate basis for the law, it is time that Americans are finally free from the stranglehold of Obamacare, once and for all."

In court papers, lawyers for Texas asked a Texas judge to hold that the ACA is unlawful and enjoin its operation.

"The DOJ agrees with Texas that the individual mandate is unconstitutional once the tax penalty was zeroed out, and if it is struck down, the guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions go with it," said Jost.

"In other words, people can once again be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions or be charged more," Jost said.

Defenders of Obamacare blasted DOJ's move.

"Tonight, as the president and his administration launch their most dangerous sabotage effort yet, we are seeing just how far Republicans are willing to go in their quest to undermine the American health care system," said Brad Woodhouse, campaign director of Protect Our Care, an advocacy group staffed with many Obama administration alums.

Meanwhile, California and several other states filed a motion to intervene to defend the law. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by 16 other attorneys general, said in April he would "vigorously" defend the ACA.

"The Texas lawsuit is based on a dubious legal claim with the sole goal of stripping Americans of their healthcare," Becerra said in a statement in April. "In California, millions of people receive quality, affordable healthcare under the ACA, many for the first time."

He said to "roll back the clock" would be "irresponsible and dangerous."

After filing the brief in Texas, Attorney General Jeff Sessions informed Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of the decision. He said he acted after "careful consideration" and with the "approval of the President of the United States."

Sessions agreed that the executive branch has a "longstanding tradition of defending the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense." But, he said, he had concluded that "this is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo defense" of the individual mandate. He noted that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act becomes effective in 2019.

Professor Nicholas Bagley, of the University of Michigan, says the case required the Trump administration to decide whether it will defend the ACA from constitutional attack.

"The Justice Department has an entrenched, long-standing and bipartisan commitment to defending congressional statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense," he wrote for the Yale Journal on Regulation in March.

"It's a bedrock convention of our constitutional structure, one that prevents the executive branch from using litigation strategy to undo Congress' handiwork," he said.

But Bagley noted that the Trump administration "loathes the ACA" and the Obama administration's refusal to defend Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that defined marriage between a man and a woman back in 2011, sets precedent.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 445047

Reported Deaths: 5955
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin924911470
Ramsey39703735
Dakota32788331
Anoka30811360
Washington20004225
Stearns17775185
St. Louis13546240
Scott1189996
Wright11548102
Olmsted1035775
Sherburne815765
Carver691436
Clay648478
Rice600166
Kandiyohi552871
Blue Earth538033
Crow Wing479673
Otter Tail453464
Chisago449732
Benton416785
Winona386246
Douglas372466
Nobles366746
Mower362328
Goodhue343657
Polk327756
McLeod323144
Morrison310043
Beltrami308746
Lyon299835
Itasca282643
Becker281738
Isanti281141
Carlton278143
Steele27119
Pine265113
Freeborn241320
Todd230929
Nicollet223336
Brown213734
Mille Lacs212845
Le Sueur208515
Cass206123
Meeker198533
Waseca188816
Martin169126
Wabasha16883
Roseau165316
Hubbard148338
Redwood139227
Renville136539
Houston135313
Dodge13304
Chippewa130832
Cottonwood126518
Fillmore12215
Wadena119416
Rock109512
Sibley10797
Aitkin107133
Watonwan10618
Faribault104615
Pennington97715
Kanabec97218
Pipestone93823
Yellow Medicine93314
Murray8655
Jackson85010
Swift83018
Pope7355
Marshall70115
Stevens6978
Clearwater68514
Lac qui Parle65616
Lake62915
Wilkin6229
Koochiching59010
Lincoln4821
Big Stone4543
Unassigned43468
Grant4257
Norman4228
Mahnomen4087
Kittson37019
Red Lake3164
Traverse2473
Lake of the Woods1801
Cook1130

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 303065

Reported Deaths: 4267
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk45335447
Linn17673274
Scott15356163
Black Hawk13648236
Woodbury12945175
Johnson1202149
Dubuque11300149
Pottawattamie8934112
Dallas881171
Story863434
Webster467471
Cerro Gordo462968
Sioux453356
Clinton448361
Warren437538
Marshall425561
Buena Vista391529
Muscatine386177
Des Moines380641
Plymouth348868
Wapello340898
Jasper319658
Lee313530
Marion301752
Jones269649
Henry263230
Carroll253034
Bremer242048
Crawford228122
Boone216217
Washington214231
Benton208544
Jackson190831
Mahaska190736
Tama185657
Dickinson184226
Delaware172236
Kossuth170543
Clay166019
Wright162724
Fayette159522
Buchanan158023
Hamilton157829
Winneshiek154819
Harrison154462
Hardin153929
Cedar151419
Clayton150748
Butler146424
Page143715
Cherokee138127
Floyd137936
Mills136016
Lyon133632
Poweshiek132324
Hancock128824
Allamakee126827
Iowa122822
Calhoun12209
Grundy120026
Jefferson119524
Madison11869
Winnebago118229
Mitchell115634
Louisa114130
Cass112541
Chickasaw110512
Emmet110231
Sac110215
Appanoose109638
Union108122
Humboldt104219
Guthrie102224
Shelby101326
Franklin101218
Unassigned9210
Palo Alto9019
Keokuk84325
Montgomery84022
Howard82519
Monroe80518
Clarke7817
Pocahontas77211
Ida73830
Greene6887
Davis68721
Adair68620
Lucas6468
Osceola6349
Monona63316
Worth5983
Taylor5919
Fremont5036
Van Buren49412
Decatur4784
Ringgold4269
Wayne41421
Audubon4108
Adams2953
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Cloudy
22° wxIcon
Hi: 23° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 14°
Mason City
Mostly Cloudy
18° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 9°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 22° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 21°
Austin
Cloudy
21° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 17°
Feels Like: 21°
Charles City
Cloudy
23° wxIcon
Hi: 25° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 17°
A big temperature swing is on the way
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Saturday's local highlights and scores

Image

John Marshall ready for 2021

Image

Is the City of Rochester paying men and women equally?

Image

LWVMN asks for "truth and consequences" for state lawmakers

Image

Sports Overtime Part 2

Image

Sports Overtime Part 1

Image

Plans for polar plunge

Image

Equal work and equal pay.

Image

Aaron's Friday Night Forecast

Image

Mega Millions jackpot soars to $750 million

Community Events