Justice Department says heart of Affordable Care Act unconstitutional

Postado Junho 09, 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions highlighted the two provisions in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate-which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a "tax" if they don't-and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated.

Three attorneys for the government withdrew from the case just minutes before the Justice Department's filing in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas, which signaled an internal rift within the administration over its role in defending USA law, according to University of Michigan Law Professor Nicholas Bagley.

That includes the requirement that people have health insurance and sections that guarantee access to coverage regardless of any medical conditions, the Associated Press reported.

In a brief filed Thursday, the Justice Department sided with Texas and a coalition of other Republican-led states that had filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare. But under the GOP tax bill signed into law last December, tax penalties for people without insurance were eliminated. For instance, it did not go after the creation of health insurance marketplaces, premium subsidies for low-income members and Medicaid expansion.

Donald Verrilli Jr., President Barack Obama's top Supreme Court lawyer who defended the law, called the decision "a sad moment". The DOJ in fact sided in large part with the states, arguing that the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be invalidated.

The Democrats further raised concerns that even if the Justice Department's arguments are unsuccessful, the administration's move could still "raise the cost of health care for most Americans, undermine the economy and weaken our democracy for years to come".

"It's just one more part of the story of trying to politicize the Justice Department", said Jost, a supporter of the health law.

Despite the Justice Department position, the Health and Human Services Department has continued to apply the health law.

Insurers, meanwhile, warned that the administration's actions could rock the individual market and could lead to higher premiums, especially for those battling illnesses.

The mandate introduced with Obamacare, the popular name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was meant to ensure a viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.