Health insurance as we have come to know it is under attack. The Republicans failed in 2017 to come up with a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare. They now have a less visible strategy to sabotage it wherever possible.
Getting rid of protections
The public became outraged by some of the Republican's cruel ideas floated in 2017. The new plan of attack is to gut major protections that are at the heart of the Affordable Care Act. Protections against denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions.
The Affordable Care Act is hated by many people. But the act has one provision that is overwhelmingly supported by Americans. The right to purchase health insurance even if you have an illness.
Insurance companies are forbidden by law from denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. Conditions like asthma, diabetes, cancer or even high cholesterol.
The law goes further. It prevents insurance companies from pricing sick people out of the market like they did in the years before the Affordable Care Act.
♦ The Trump administration is urging a federal court to throw out protections for people with pre-existing conditions. They are also asking the court to delay taking action until after the midterm elections this fall.
• The insurance industry has warned that millions of Americans will be harmed if protections for pre-existing conditions are taken away. Premiums would go even higher, especially for older Americans and sicker people.
Who started this?
A lawsuit has been brought by conservative states seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act.
The Texas-led lawsuit filed in February claims that the elimination of the ACA’s individual mandate penalty means that the whole health care law should now be ruled invalid. This is a bit of a stretch.
The lawsuit has been joined by 19 other Republican-led states.
"Adding insult to injury, this flimsy lawsuit created to blow up the Affordable Care Act is not even a genuine Texas legal initiative. The suit was created by an outside group and Texas is fronting it (with Wisconsin) so it will be heard in what out-of-state backers believe is a more conservative federal court in Texas."Janda, K. (2018, June). Is Texas backing the wrong Obamacare lawsuit? Houston Chronicle
♦ The Trump administration's court filing says it agrees with states bringing the suit. It believes that the individual mandate is unconstitutional, as are the law’s provisions protecting people with pre-existing and expensive medical conditions.
Legal experts are saying that the Trump administration’s attempt to use the courts to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions is unlikely to succeed. Even though, the judge overseeing the case is considered friendly to the plaintiffs.
The decision to not defend the Affordable Care Act has caused a lot of controversy in the Department of Justice. A number of attorneys handling the case have asked to withdraw rather than be associated with this effort.
♦ The administration's decision means that a group of 15 Democratic states led by California will be largely responsible for defending Obamacare against its latest legal threat.
Democrats wasted no time. Representative Frank Pallone, D-N.J., quickly went on the offensive. He said, “Democrats will not allow Republicans to get away with quietly trying to strip away pre-existing conditions from millions of Americans through a legal back door.”
The court case is not likely to be resolved before the fall elections. The Democrats can be expected to turn this into a campaign issue this fall, along with sound bites from 2017’s failed repeal efforts.