The Trump administration delivered an early midterms present to Democrats Thursday night when the Justice Department made a decision to side with 20 GOP states in a lawsuit seeking to gut the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions.
The Trump administration's decision to abandon the Affordable Care Act in an ongoing court challenge could affect some of the most popular pillars of the law - further intensifying the fight over health care in the middle of an election year.
"In other words, people can once again be denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions or be charged more", Jost said. In the case of health care, "fortunately we have 16 other [Democratic attorneys general] who are prepared to do it with us".
Senate Democrats have vowed to make health care policy a priority this summer, as they gear up for midterm elections this November.
"I have always favored coverage for preexisting conditions and will continue to do so", Lance said, adding he would urge the administration to back off their new legal stance.
The attorneys general argue that a Supreme Court decision in 2012 saved the ACA from being declared an unconstitutional overreach of congressional power by declaring the penalty a tax - and pointing out that Congress has the power to levy taxes. The letter acknowledges that the decision not to defend an existing law deviates from history but contends that it is not unprecedented.
Led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel, the lawsuit said that without the individual mandate, Obamacare in its entirety was unlawful.
Late Thursday, the department said the health law's requirement that most Americans carry insurance will become unconstitutional next year and so will consumer protections forbidding insurers to deny coverage to sick customers or charge them more.
The legal challenge led by the state of Texas argues that these consumer protections - as well as the law's multibillion-dollar program for expanding the Medicaid safety net to poor Americans - should be scrapped because Congress previous year repealed the penalty on Americans who don't have health coverage. The DOJ in fact sided in large part with the states, arguing that the law's protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be invalidated.
Also, 39 percent of registered voters in today's NBC/WSJ said they are enthusiastic or comfortable with a candidate seeking to repeal Obamacare, compared to 49 percent who said they have reservations or were very uncomfortable with a candidate seeking to repeal the health care law.
House Republicans said Friday they aren't sweating the Trump administration's refusal to defend Obamacare against a lawsuit that could nix popular health care protections, saying the case is in its infancy and they acquitted themselves by offering an alternative health plan past year. But the court will take notice that the Trump administration has switched sides.
While they provide major protections to those with pre-existing conditions, they also have pushed up premiums for those who are young and healthy. "Congress has now kicked that flimsy support from beneath the law".
Bailey's spokesman Corey Uhden said Friday that he wouldn't comment on the constitutionality of the ACA provisions. Before the ACA passed, insurers commonly refused coverage for people with cancer, heart failure, diabetes, arthritis and even less serious conditions.
Despite the Justice Department position, the Health and Human Services Department has continued to apply the health law.
Becerra's pledge came in response to an announcement from the administration Thursday that it would not defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act in court.
"Withdrawing from a case en masse like this, right before the brief is filed, is unheard of", noted Nicholas Bagley, a former Justice Department lawyer who now teaches at the University of Michigan Law School.
In parting company with the challenging states on their demand that all of the ACA be nullified, the Administration document said it was hypothetical speculation whether the entire program would collapse without the individual mandate and the related insurance coverage requirements. Judge Reed O'Connor was named to the court by President George W. Bush and has ruled against other aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Cortez ScottBishop from royal wedding marches to White House Bishop from royal wedding to march against "America First" policies in DC Supreme Court upholds agreements that prevent employee class-action suits MORE (Va.), Frank Pallone Jr.