U.S. Justice Department says Obamacare individual mandate unconstitutional

Sessions sends letter to Ryan explaining rationale for not defending ObamaCare

Sessions sends letter to Ryan explaining rationale for not defending ObamaCare

It said that the requirement that people have health insurance - the individual mandate - was unconstitutional and that the entire law, including provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions, should be struck down as a result.

The lawsuit led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, argued an earlier case against the ACA made it clear that tax penalty was an essential component of the law, and when the Supreme Court upheld the ACA the ruling stated "without the tax penalty, the mandate that individuals purchase health insurance was an unconstitutional exercise of federal power".

The Trump administration is trying out a new tactic to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare): calling at least one provision of it unconstitutional. The second, called community rating, prevents carriers from charging more to those who are sick or had conditions in the past.

The chances for that argument succeeding are viewed with deep skepticism by legal experts, in part because Congress itself indicated that the rest of ObamaCare could still stand without the mandate when it moved to repeal the tax penalty a year ago.

"This is yet another malicious Republican attack that will undermine the stability of our healthcare system, and could once again mean that you or a loved one are denied healthcare because of a pre-existing condition", said Meredith Kelly, the communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

The DOJ claimed in court Thursday that the health care law's protections relating to pre-existing conditions are now improper, because the individual mandate was repealed. "Without access to comprehensive coverage patients will be forced to delay, skip or forgo care".

It backs up their contention that the ACA provision requiring most Americans to carry health insurance soon will no longer be constitutional.

Insurers, meanwhile, warned that the administration's actions could rock the individual market and could lead to higher premiums, especially for those battling illnesses.

Democrats are seeking to tie the move into their argument that the Trump administration is "sabotaging" health care and driving up premiums, a key midterm message. In addition, the government doesn't go so far as Texas and its fellow plaintiffs in arguing that the Affordable Care Act and the regulations issued under it are now invalid.