The Trump administration said on Thursday night that it would not defend the Affordable Care Act against the recent legal challenges to its constitutionality – a dramatic break with the tradition of the executive defending existing laws and a health insurance landmine ACAA.
In a brief lawsuit in front of a Texas federal court and an accompanying letter to the House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), The Department of Justice largely agrees with the 20 Republican-led states. They claim that the ACA provision, which obliges most Americans to soon take out health insurance, will no longer be constitutional and, as a result, statutory insurance provisions will not apply.
The three-sided letter from Attorney General to Pelosi Jeff Sessions begins by stating that Justice has accepted his position "with the approval of the President of the United States." The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history, but claims that it is not unprecedented
The sharp blow to the ACA, a Republican whip site since the passage of 201
The administration does not go as far as Texas Attorney General and his colleagues. In their complaint filed in February with the US District Court of the Northern District of Texas, they claim that the entire law is now invalid.
By contrast, Justice's letter and letter states that many other aspects of the law can survive because they are legally distinct from the insurance mandate and from such consumer protection measures as a ban on charging fees or denying coverage to individuals with pre-existing illnesses
A group of 17 democratically governed states, which have prevailed in the case, also filed a petition on Thursday evening advocating the maintenance of the ACA.
As the case unfolds, the beating position of the government raises the possibility that important parts of the law could be crushed – a year after the Republican Congress failed in attempts to lift core provisions.
In an unusual briefing shortly before 6pm On Thursday, when the contract was due, the three attorneys involved in the case – Joel McElvain, Eric Beckenhauer and Rebecca Kopplin – retired.
The department's argument, if adopted by US District Judge Reed O & # 39; Connor, "would be breathtaking in its impact," said Timothy Jost, a retired Washington and Lee Law professor who closely follows such litigation. "Of all the measures that the Trump government has taken to undermine individual insurance markets, this could be the most destabilizing … [If] I am an insurer, I do not know what to do or not." [19659011JostanACAbackernotedthatthegovernment'sdecisionnottodefendthelawduringtheseasonwithparticipatinginsurersmustsubmittheirratestothestateregulatorsfornextyearItraisesnewquestionsastowhetherinsurersstillhavetochargethesamepricesforallhealthyorsickcustomers
The crusade against the ACA has been a priority for President Trump since his campaign for the White House. On his first night in office, Trump issued an executive order urging federal agencies to reduce the burden imposed by the law. Last October, the President unilaterally ended a significant portion of the law that financially discourages insurers from providing rebates to lower the cost of out-of-pocket expenses for low-income ACA-covered clients.
More recently, the White House and the Ministry of Health and Welfare have been working to help consumers buy relatively cheap health plans that exclude some of the benefits of the ACA.
The new challenge comes six years after the Supreme Court's split ruling that the ACA is constitutional. That decision was based on the argument that while the government "is not empowered to order people to buy health insurance," as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority, "but a tax can be levied on those who have no health insurance. "
The Texas case, which has received relatively little attention so far, stems from the massive tax law passed by Congress late last year. The legislator has decided to lift the tax penalty that the Court of Auditors requires if the insurance mandate is disregarded. The enforcement of this requirement will end in January.
As a result, the Texas complaint alleges: "The country has an individual mandate to buy health insurance funds that have no constitutional basis … Once the heart of the ACA – the individual mandate – is declared unconstitutional, the rest of the ACA
Texas and the accompanying states have applied for a restraining order that could suspend the entire bill as long as the case takes place in court
But the administration does not agree with this position. Instead, the judges argue in their letter that ACA's insurance requirements will not become unconstitutional until January so that "the single-mandate infringement is not sufficiently imminent" and that the judge may take a final decision in this case.
The lawsuit is heard by Judge Reed O & Connor, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and in other cases has ruled against the ACA in recent years.
Until Thursday's briefing, the Trump administration had not indicated its position on either this recent lawsuit or the efforts of Republican states to block the law as the case progresses.