DOJ Argues Parts Of Obamacare Are Unconstitutional After Mandate Repeal

DOJ Argues Parts Of Obamacare Are Unconstitutional After Mandate Repeal

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D-Springfield, and other House Democrats condemned the Trump administration Friday after the Justice Department announced it would not defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

On Thursday night, the DOJ declined to defend ObamaCare against a lawsuit filed by Texas and 19 other GOP-led states, arguing that the law is unconstitutional.

"If the Trump administration is successful in arguing against the constitutionality of protecting patients' access to care, it will have immediate and disastrous effect on our health care system and the American people", the lawmakers say. It also says that provisions shielding people with medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums and limiting how much insurers can charge older Americans should fall as well.

In many ways, the lawsuit, filed in February, is a replay of the politically divided litigation that ended with the USA supreme court upholding the healthcare overhaul in 2012.

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.

Donald Verrilli Jr, Barack Obama's top supreme court lawyer who defended the law, called the decision "a sad moment".

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It backs up their contention that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional.

"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.

The states argue that now that Congress repealed the penalty for not having coverage in the tax bill a year ago, ObamaCare's individual mandate can no longer be upheld as a tax, and that it therefore should be invalidated. In addition, the government doesn't go so far as Texas and its fellow plaintiffs in arguing that the Affordable Care Act and the regulations issued under it are now invalid.

"It's just one more part of the story of trying to politicize the Justice Department", said Jost, a supporter of the health law.

While Justice Department attorneys often advocate for laws they may personally disagree with, those three civil servants instead chose to exit from the case, which Bagley described as "almost unheard of".

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