Lawsuit could jeopardize health care for 52 million

Lawsuit could jeopardize health care for 52 million

Lawsuit could jeopardize health care for 52 million

About 1.5 million Californians buy coverage through the state's ACA exchange, Covered California, and almost 4 million have joined Medicaid as a result of the program's expansion under the law.

The Democrats argued that DOJ's refusal to defend the controversial health care law could eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and "have profound consequences for patients, the health care system and the American economy".

"This is not a new experience for us under this new Trump era of having to defend Californians", Becerra said. "As of 2019, therefore, the individual mandate will be unconstitutional under controlling Supreme Court precedent holding that 'the federal government does not have the power to order people to buy health insurance'".

The lawsuit, filed in February by Texas and other GOP-led states, is in many ways a replay of the politically divided litigation that ended with the Supreme Court upholding the health care overhaul in 2012.

"The individual mandate thus still exists, but it will no longer be fairly possible to describe it as a tax because it will no longer generate any revenue", the Justice Department said in its brief on Thursday.

A group of 17 Democratic-led states that have won standing in the case also filed a brief on Thursday night arguing for the ACA's preservation.

The case is Texas v. U.S., 4:18-cv-001 67, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).

"The Department in the past has declined to defend a statute in cases in which the president has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional and made manifest that it should not be defended, as is the case here", Sessions wrote.

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The administration called on the court to declare the provisions that guarantee coverage to be invalid beginning on January 1, 2019, when the mandate penalty goes away.

While the case has to play out from here, the administration's striking position raises the possibility that major parts of the law could be struck down - a year after the Republican Congress failed at attempts to repeal core provisions. "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.

The Justice Department thus claims that the individual mandate is unconstitutional as of January 1. No one has pushed that issue forward in the Legislature. However, if the federal court sides with the plaintiffs, those with pre-existing conditions could once again be denied coverage.

Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), chairman of Califoria's Assembly Health Committee, did not address that issue but said he'd do whatever it takes to keep the Affordable Care Act's protections alive in California.

The news rallied defenders of the law into action and raised questions among legal scholars about the likelihood it would succeed.

In California's primary election Tuesday, Becerra, a Democrat, dominated the race with 45 percent of the vote.

Bailey's spokesman Corey Uhden said Friday that he wouldn't comment on the constitutionality of the ACA provisions.

Reyes said Friday that "the individual mandate can not be severed" from the parts of the Affordable Care Act that prohibit insurers from increasing a person's premium rates or denying them coverage based on their health history.

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