Trump justice department will stop defending key parts of Obamacare

Trump justice department will stop defending key parts of Obamacare

In a legal filing Thursday night, the Department of Justice said that key parts of Obamacare should be invalidated and that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. These include a "ban on insurers denying coverage and charging higher rates to people with pre-existing health conditions".

A group of 20 US states sued the federal government in February, claiming the law was no longer constitutional after last year's repeal of that penalty that individuals had to pay for not having insurance.

Texas and other GOP-led states have filed suit to strike down the entire law, with Congress recently repealing a provision that subjected those who failed to obtain health insurance to a fine, according to reports.

The administration said it agrees with Texas that the so-called individual mandate will be unconstitutional without the fine.

Sessions defended the unusual decision in a June 7 letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

These consumer protections proved enormously popular with Americans and are among the reasons why efforts to repeal Obamacare in Congress failed past year. In the meantime, the existing law will likely remain.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter to Congress on Thursday that Trump, who campaigned on repealing the law and almost did so his first year in office, approved the legal strategy.

Shortly before the government's court filing, three career lawyers at the Justice Department withdrew from the case and were replaced by two political appointees, according to court filings. "The brief filed by the Trump Administration yesterday represents a shocking break from precedent, and relies on legally dubious, partisan claims to argue against the constitutionality of the current law", they said in a joint statement. "But even if the Justice Department's arguments fail, as they should, the administration's violation of its duty to faithfully execute our nation's laws will 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. Indeed, sign-up season for 2018 under the Trump administration resulted in only a slight enrollment drop-off from Obama's a year ago.

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.

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