The administration’s refusal to defend the ACA protections may result in higher premiums and open the door to a return of the days where millions more Americans lived in a constant state of physical and financial vulnerability.
In February, 20 state attorneys general, including Florida’s, filed suit in federal court arguing that the individual mandate was essentially repealed in the Tax Cuts and Job Act (even though it only eliminates the penalty). The argument is based on a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that approved the individual mandate because it was technically a “tax” that raised revenue for the government.
Since that the ACA mandate will no longer generate revenue, the plaintiffs and now the Department of Justice, are arguing that the ACA has an unconstitutional provision and that the whole law should be illegal. While the legal argument is debatable, it is an eye-opening preview of the administration’s vision for health care.
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that with the repeal of the penalty, the ACA guaranteed issue and community rating protections are also no longer valid.
Guaranteed issue provides that an insurance company must insure people with preexisting conditions.
Community rating provides that insurance companies cannot charge you more based on age, gender, health status or other factors.
Unfortunately, AG Sessions makes clear that he will leave the fate of those who rely on these protections to the court.
This underhanded repeal of the ACA continues to undermine the protections that ensured care for so many Americans. A return to the pre-ACA days will push older, middle class Floridians, who do not qualify for tax credits under the law, into a more precarious, expensive health care system, where medical bankruptcy ticks up like a bad fashion trend.
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