Justice Department says heart of health law unconstitutional

Trump justice department will stop defending key parts of Obamacare

DOJ Argues Parts Of Obamacare Are Unconstitutional After Mandate Repeal

It also said that provisions shielding people with medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums and limiting how much insurers can charge older Americans should fall as well.

In a brief filed in a federal court in Texas, the department said a tax law signed past year by President Donald Trump that eliminated penalties for not having health insurance rendered the so-called individual mandate under Obamacare unconstitutional. The lawsuit argues that last year's action by Congress to eliminate the ACA's tax penalty for individuals who go without insurance renders the rest of the law unconstitutional, the Post reported. Texas and other Republican-led states are suing to strike down the entire law because Congress recently repealed a provision that people without health insurance must pay a fine.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a Thursday letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, said while the administration has traditionally defended the constitutionality of such provisions, he has decided "this is a rare care where the proper course is to forgo defense". The repeal takes effect next year.

The filing declares unconstitutional the so-called individual mandate-which requires nearly all Americans to purchase health insurance or pay a "tax" if they don't-and calls for several elements of ACA to be invalidated.

The Justice Department rarely declines to argue in favor of existing law in court and this decision will put pressure on the Affordable Care Act, the formal name for former President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

Shortly before the government's court filing, three career lawyers at the Justice Department withdrew from the case and were replaced by two political appointees, according to court filings. The filing is part of a lawsuit brought by the state of Texas and a coalition of other Republican-led states that are challenging Obamacare's constitutionally. "But even if the Justice Department's arguments fail, as they should, the administration's violation of its duty to faithfully execute our nation's laws will still raise the cost of health care for most Americans, undermine the economy, and weaken our democracy for years to come".

The mandate introduced with Obamacare, the popular name for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was meant to ensure a viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.

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