The Death Knell of the Affordable Care Act

The current administration announced Thursday that it will not defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against lawsuits from a number of conservative states.

Texas, among others, has brought a lawsuit against the ACA challenging the constitutionality of aspects of the law which protect those with pre-existing conditions.

The news comes on the heels of a Republican vote that killed a bipartisan bill that would have fully funded an expansion for veterans’ healthcare.

In fact, the administration has sided with the 20 states that have brought the lawsuit against the ACA, saying that the administration wants to overturn the individual mandate penalty as well as to abolish provisions which protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

One notable difference between the states’ argument and that of the Justice Department is that the Justice Department is open to the possibility of retaining the ACA’s Medicaid coverage.

Still, for millions of Americans living with pre-existing conditions, as well as for cancer survivors and those who have fended off other debilitating diseases, are now at greater risk than ever before.

As it stands now, the ACA requires insurers to offer coverage to all applicants, regardless of their medical history or pre-existing conditions. Now, just as before the ACA’s conception, insurers will be able to reject, restrict coverage, or hike up premiums based on an individual’s health history.

“The Texas lawsuit is based on a dubious legal claim with the sole goal of stripping Americans of their healthcare. Shame on the Administration for gambling with the healthcare coverage of 20 million Americans.”  — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra

Not only is this an exceptional decision from a moral standpoint, but from a legal standpoint as well — it’s nearly unprecedented for an administration not to defend a sitting law.

“The Trump administration has just announced that it doesn’t care that a law was passed by Congress and signed into law by the President. That’s not a rule of law I recognize. That’s a rule by whim.”  — University of Michigan’s Nicholas Bagley

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