Health Care

DOJ Now Argues Obamacare Should be Struck Down

DOJ Now Argues Obamacare Should be Struck Down

The position is a change for the Justice Department after it argued past year that swaths of the 2010 law - but not all of it - should be struck down in the case Texas brought against the government. A group of red state attorneys general follow up in court by arguing that, because the law was created to function as a seamless whole, eliminating one major component requires the elimination of the entire rest of the law.

In a filing with a federal appeals court, President Donald Trump's Justice Department said it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the Obama-era healthcare law.

If the case does land at the Supreme Court, it would be the third time that the court would rule on constitutional question related to the ACA. They had been trying to reframe the health-care issue for 2020 as one in which they drove a wedge between Democrats who supported or opposed controversial single-payer legislation - all the while warning of socialized medicine and higher taxes.

House Democrats are expected to offer legislation Tuesday to shore up the ACA, the Associated Press reported. Building the wall was one of Trump's most repeated campaign pledges, though he said it would be paid for by Mexico, not taxpayers.

Mike DeWine said Tuesday that if the Affordable Care Act is struck down entirely - as the Trump administration is now seeking - he will act to ensure that Ohioans with pre-existing conditions can still get access to affordable insurance coverage.

Yet it's an issue Democrats have struggled to stay focused on after taking the House in January and effectively neutering the Republican threat to repeal the 2010 law. "Which means the Trump administration has now committed itself to a legal position that would inflict untold damage on the American public", wrote University of MI law professor Nicholas Bagley in a blog post.

That includes some 12 million low-income people covered through its Medicaid expansion, and some 11 million purchasing subsidized private health insurance through HealthCare.gov and state-run insurance markets. If the decision is upheld, it could significantly disrupt the USA health care system.

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After Congress reduced the tax penalty to zero, Sessions had refused to defend the law's requirement for individuals to buy health insurance, known as the individual mandate.

Several states, including California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut and Virginia have intervened in the suit to keep Obamacare intact.

In a letter Monday night, the administration said "it is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed".

O'Connor ruled on a lawsuit brought by a coalition of 20 Republican-led states including Texas, Alabama and Florida, that said a Trump-backed change to the USA tax code made the law unconstitutional.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the move a 'slap in the face to American families'. He predicted the appellate panel may dismiss the suit on those grounds.

Jonathan Adler, a professor at Case Western Reserve School of Law, writing on Reason.com, said the latest DOJ position was "astounding". It's rare for the Justice Department to decline to defend a federal law. "Here there are reasonable arguments to be made".

"At the end of the day, I don't think this is going to have a big effect", Adler said.