Published: Thu, September 06, 2018
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This is how Texas plans to kill ObamaCare

This is how Texas plans to kill ObamaCare

Today, a Texas Federal District Court heard arguments in the case Texas v. Although the lawsuit was brought by 20 Republican state attorneys general, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 75 percent of Americans don't want those protections reversed.

The Supreme Court, in upholding the law in 2012, deemed that penalty a tax and thus a valid and legal exercise of Congress' power of the purse.

"This case is going to help renew the focus on health care in the midterm elections", said Celinda Lake, a longtime Democratic pollster, who noted that the issue had been flagging slightly as President Donald Trump and other Republicans have talked less about rolling back the health care law since they failed to repeal it in Congress previous year.

The lawsuit asks the judge to prohibit the federal government "from implementing, regulating, enforcing, or otherwise acting under the authority of the ACA".

"The Trump administration's decision to wreck these protections is heartless". The Justice Department agrees that the individual mandate is rendered unconstitutional but argues that invalidates only the law's protections of those with pre-existing conditions. "Allowing insurance companies to once again charge people with high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, diabetes or other conditions up to 10 times more than what others pay for the same coverage - or deny them coverage altogether - would be devastating to the estimated 25 million older adults with a pre-existing condition". That is when the tax penalty goes away.

"It's perfectly clear that when Congress zeroed out the penalty in 2017, it didn't mean to get rid of pre-existing conditions protections", said Tim Jost, emeritus professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law.

The Democratic attorneys general applied to "intervene" in the case to defend the law in its entirety. Now they're attacking the most important life-saving protection in the law.

They are asking the judge to block the law immediately and not wait until the case is finally decided. Now, states are arguing that the entire basis for the health care act standing as constitutional is gone, meaning the entire law is unconstitutional. Insurers hold a key financial stake in the individual market, but an even bigger stake in the law's provisions on Medicare and Medicaid.

That's mostly due to conservative Judge Reed O'Connor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of Texas, who presided over Wednesday's oral arguments.

The case is largely partisan - with Republicans who oppose the health law arguing for its cancellation and Democrats who support it fighting to keep it in place. There is a question of timing on when and how the court rules.

Technically, Congress is watching the case just as everyone else is. Most of the law's major provisions, however, such as the health insurance mandate, federal subsidies for health insurance and elimination of restrictions on pre-existing conditions, didn't go into effect until 2014 and mostly applied to USA -born and documented Latinos.

However, their popularity is one of the main reasons GOP lawmakers had such difficulty repealing Obamacare a year ago and it has given Democrats fodder for attacking Republican rivals in the midterm elections.

"This legislation is a common-sense solution that guarantees Americans with preexisting conditions will have health care coverage", Tillis said.

Critics, however, were quick to point out that the bill doesn't actually offer the same protections that are embodied in the ACA. As a practicing physician, I applaud its pre-existing condition protection, much as I support the Medicaid expansion, the team approach of Accountable Care Organizations, as well as the expansion of Federally Qualified Health Centers providing health care to millions of otherwise underserved patients.

Marlene Baca, CEO of the nonprofit on-exchange insurance provider New Mexico Health Connections, said Wednesday that the cooperative has focused on its management of medical costs in the wake of recent regulatory upheaval.

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