No immediate ruling in GOP's latest 'Obamacare' lawsuit

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"We have a law that already offers people the best protection - it's called the Affordable Care Act".

The move to ban such plans is part of a broad effort under way, at the state level, to blunt actions by the Trump administration to unravel the federal health care law after President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress failed past year to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Democrats argue that's not the case.

In response, the Trump Administration stated it would not fully defend the law and argued that the ACA's protections for consumers with pre-existing medical conditions should be overturned.

President Donald Trump and the GOP-led Congress have repealed the penalty for people going uninsured, starting in 2019.

Under the law's community rating provision, insurers are not allowed to set premiums based on a person's health history. "And we don't believe Americans are ready to see that their children are no longer able to see a doctor or that they can not get treated for a preexisting health condition". The requirement was built into the law in to make sure healthy people enter the insurance pool to offset people with chronic illnesses and other preexisting conditions.

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.

In court briefs, Paxton has said if the judge decides not to strike down the law in its entirety, he should eliminate Obamacare protections in just those states that are challenging it. "Congress has now kicked that flimsy support from beneath the law".

The consumer protections targeted by the administration are central to Obamacare and transformed the health insurance landscape. Although this was another example of his judicial restraint (like most recent Court nominees, he won't opine on hypothetical cases that could come before him as a justice), it is being misinterpreted by his opponents as indicating he would vote to dismantle the law. Half of those people said the bill was less than $500, but almost 1 in 8 said they were on the hook for $2,000 or more. That is when the tax penalty goes away.

Four in 10 Americans (41%) say they are "very worried" that they or a family member will lose coverage if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA's pre-existing condition protections.


The Democratic attorneys general applied to "intervene" in the case to defend the law in its entirety.

And, they continue, because the requirement is so central to health care law, the whole law can not survive without it. The judge granted them that status on May 16. Nineteen other states and other plaintiffs have joined Texas.

But setting aside the ACA while the case proceeds "would throw the entire [health] system into chaos", Becerra said. Insurers hold a key financial stake in the individual market, but an even bigger stake in the law's provisions on Medicare and Medicaid.

"Regardless of how people feel about the Affordable Care Act, an overwhelming number agree that those who endure a medical condition should never be denied the chance to get health insurance".

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.

At the same time, by signaling he would issue a ruling soon, O'Connor assured that the lawsuit - Texas v. Azar - and its attempt to wipe out the 2010 law would continue to shadow political campaigns ahead of this November's midterm congressional elections. Three Democrats in the meetings told the Times that Kavanaugh suggested that if one piece of the law is struck down, the rest of the law doesn't necessarily have to fall with it.

Some 52 million adults age 18 to 64 - or 27 percent of this population - have pre-existing conditions that would have led to a denial of coverage in the individual market prior to the Affordable Care Act, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

"I don't think any objective observer of this lawsuit would say it is likely to succeed", he said. Thom Tillis (R-NC) and nine other Republican senators introduced a new bill late last month that they contend will guarantee protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nonprofit news service covering health issues.

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