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Roundup: Trump Justice Department Argues that Protections for Pre-existing Conditions are Unconstitutional

By June 8, 2018No Comments

Tonight, the Trump Administration went to court to take away protections away from 52 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, and raise costs for millions more.

Headlines are emphasizing just how significant this decision is:

Washington Post: Trump Administration Won’t Defend ACA In Case Brought By GOP States. [6/7/18]

Vox: The Trump Administration Believes Obamacare’s Preexisting Conditions Protections Are Now Unconstitutional. [6/7/18]

CNN: Trump Administration Tells Court It Won’t Defend Key Provisions Of The Affordable Care Act. [6/7/18]

Axios: Trump’s Justice Department Says The ACA Is Unconstitutional. [6/7/18]

Politico: Trump Administration Backs Court Case To Overturn Obamacare Provisions. [6/7/18]

Talking Points Memo: Trump’s Justice Department Refuses To Defend Obamacare In Court. [6/7/18]

The Hill: Justice Dept. Argues Key Parts Of ObamaCare Are Unconstitutional. [6/7/18]

Washington Examiner: Trump Administration Tells Court It Won’t Defend Obamacare Against Lawsuit Seeking To Cripple It. [6/7/18]

Reuters: U.S. Justice Department Says Obamacare Individual Mandate Unconstitutional. [6/7/18]

And experts underscore just how dangerous it will be:

Larry Levitt, Vice President For Health Policy At Kaiser Family Foundation: “The Justice Department’s brief creates another cloud of uncertainty for insurers, just as they’re filing proposed ACA rates for 2019. When insurance companies face uncertainty, they increase premiums.” “The Trump administration is arguing in court that the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be thrown out. The Justice Department’s brief creates another cloud of uncertainty for insurers, just as they’re filing proposed ACA rates for 2019. When insurance companies face uncertainty, they increase premiums…27% of non-elderly adults have pre-existing conditions. Arguing in court that protections for them should be eliminated, as the Trump administration is now doing, could provoke a backlash in an election year.” [Larry Levitt, 6/7/18]

Andy Slavitt, Former Director Of Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services: “The Biggest Health Care News of the Year.” “BREAKING: The biggest health care news of the year. The Trump DOJ tonight just told the courts to dismantle pre-existing conditions protections and other consumer protections. This may seem predictable, but these actions are unprecedented.” [Andy Slavitt, 6/7/18]

Nicholas Bagley, Health Law Professor at University of Michigan: “I’m at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is.” “This is an enormous blow to the integrity of DOJ…I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is. The Justice Department has a durable, longstanding, bipartisan commitment to defending the law when non-frivolous arguments can be made in its defense. This brief torches that commitment.” [Nicholas Bagley, 6/7/18]

Sam Berger, Senior Advisor At Center For American Progress: DOJ Wants To Take Health Care Away From Those With Pre-Existing Conditions. “For those who don’t have time to read the DOJ brief, a quick summary of the argument: ‘We want to take away health care from people with pre-existing conditions and are willing to make patently absurd legal arguments to do so.’ DOJ’s argument was so inconsistent with the law, that career lawyers actually asked the court to remove them from the case, so that they would not have to be associated with it. That almost never happens, and tells you how terrible DOJ’s legal argument is.” [Sam Berger, 6/7/18]

Topher Spiro, Vice President For Health Policy At Center For American Progress: “This Is A Political Attack On The ACA And People With Pre-Existing Conditions.” “Three respected career DOJ attorneys withdrew from the case in protest just before this brief was filed. That tells you how politicized this is. This is a political attack on the ACA and people with pre-existing conditions.” [Topher Spiro, 6/7/18]

Andy Slavitt, Former Director Of Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services: “Collusion Between Conservative Plaintiffs And The ‘Defense’ Would Make Pre-Existing Protections And Age Rating Protections Unconstitutional.” “The DOJ, responsible for upholding the rule of law, is not defending the people in a frivolous lawsuit to say that without the mandate, the rest of the ACA can’t be enforced. This collusion between the conservative plaintiffs and the “defense” would make pre-ex protections and age rating protections unconstitutional. In an active of savage cynicism, the Trump Administration doesn’t want this to go into effect until after the election.” [Andy Slavitt, 6/7/18]

Sam Baker, Health Reporter At Axios: “Sick People Would Just Be Out.” “If DOJ gets its way here, insurers would be free to deny people coverage based on pre-existing conditions. Forget complicated market interactions — sick people would just be out.” [Sam Baker, 6/7/18]

Matthew Yglesias, Co-founder Of Vox: “Good Reminder Of The Real Stakes In The Midterms.” “Good reminder of the real stakes in the midterms; if Republicans do well, they will try as hard as they can to take people’s health care away.” [Matthew Yglesias, 6/7/18]