Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended this move in a letter, claiming that this position is simply a matter of "statutory interpretation", regarding those positions, and because he is not saying that Obamacare as a whole is unconstitutional, it "therefore does not implicate the Department's general practice of defending the constitutionality of federal law".
Now, the Justice Department's stance in a federal-court case in Texas will allow Democrats to argue that Republicans want to deny affordable health coverage to some of the people who need it most. It argues that because the tax reform bill passed by Congress gets rid of the ACA's "individual mandate" penalty for not having health insurance, the requirement for individuals to have health insurance is void, and because of that, the rest of the law - which they say hinges on the mandate - should be invalidated.
Donald B. Verrilli Jr., a solicitor general in the Obama administration, said there were obviously reasonable arguments that could be made in defense of the Affordable Care Act in the Texas case, pointing to those in a brief filed Thursday by California and 15 other states.
"The pre-existing condition thing is what the ads will be run on", said Blendon.
WASHINGTON - The US Justice Department on Thursday said the part of Affordable Care Act requiring people to have health insurance is unconstitutional, an unusual move that could lead to stripping away some of the most significant and popular parts of the law, better known as Obamacare.
ROVNER: Well, one of the reasons it's happening - say the insurers, who are filing their rates now for next year - is because they took away this penalty for people who don't have insurance. "It suggests that future administrations can pick and choose which laws they're going to enforce", he said.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted against the Republican repeal bills in the Senate a year ago, also expressed concern about the administration's new push, saying it "creates further uncertainty that could ultimately result in higher costs for millions of Americans and undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes".
One might find it odd that the Department of Justice is agreeing that parts of a major law are unconstitutional. "Congress in 2010 may have thought that a mandate may have been an essential component of the ACA, but a subsequent Congress indicated otherwise by eliminating the penalty without altering the other parts of the law".
"Zeroing out the individual mandate penalty should not result in striking important consumer protections" that help guarantee coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, a written statement from the group said.
The Justice Department lawyers representing Trump's U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Trump's Internal Revenue Services have asked the court to narrow the scope of the suit, and then to grant a ruling in favor of Texas and its allies on the narrower version of the suit.
Repealing Obamacare has been a rallying cry for Republican candidates for the past eight years.
Some Democratic politicians didn't waste much time. But in this instance it agrees with the state that the individual mandate and other requirements should be deemed illegitimate as of January 1, 2019. "In California, millions of people receive quality, affordable healthcare under the ACA, many for the first time". "The Trump Administration is perpetuating the same cruel vision of higher costs and less coverage that House Republicans voted for in the monstrosity of Trumpcare".
The Senate's top Democrats fired off a letter to President Trump on Friday to denounce the decision and urged Trump's Justice Department to reverse course. However, if the federal court sides with the plaintiffs, those with pre-existing conditions could once again be denied coverage.
"I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is", University of MI law professor Nicholas Bagley said in a blog post. Those two were so closely tied to the insurance-buying mandate that they would not work in the health insurance market without the guaranteed pool of insured people that the mandate was designed to create, Administration lawyers contended. And for those reasons, premiums are going up more next year than they would have otherwise.
In parting company with the challenging states on their demand that all of the ACA be nullified, the Administration document said it was hypothetical speculation whether the entire program would collapse without the individual mandate and the related insurance coverage requirements.