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Attorney General Jeff Sessions told House Speaker Paul Ryan in a June 7 letter that the Department of Justice will not defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act mandate for individuals to maintain essential health insurance coverage, in a lawsuit brought by 20 GOP-led states.

But the Justice Department now says it won't defend a key part of the law in court. The move means insurers could decide to deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions. O'Connor was appointed by George W. Bush and recently ruled that health care providers can not be forced to perform procedures that conflict with their religious beliefs.

Republicans in Congress have tried endlessly to the repeal the Affordable Care Act since it was signed into law in 2010 by President Barack Obama.

Stanford said removing the restrictions on pre-existing conditions would take Americans back when "insurance companies could pore through your medical records and anything you mentioned to your doctor was fair game". And because a scant majority of the Supreme Court had said it was Congress's taxing powers that saved the ACA from being unconstitutional, that protection was no longer there.

"If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is challenged in court, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books", wrote Bagley. That would include such popular items as the guarantee that young people can stay on their family's health insurance plans until age 26, subsidies to help poorer people to afford health insurance, the existing state-level health insurance marketplaces ("exchanges"), the expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for poor people, and a mandate that larger employers provided minimum levels of health insurance coverage for their workers.

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program for expanding the Medicaid safety net to poor Americans - should be scrapped because Congress a year ago repealed the penalty on Americans who don't have health coverage. Yet he has granted standing to a group of 17 Democratic-led states that filed a brief on Thursday night arguing for the preservation of Obamacare, and will no doubt give them a fair hearing.

Loosening the health law's rules on pre-existing conditions and on charging more to older adults is a key goal for the Trump administration.

"There is no doubt that Republicans are responsible for the rising cost of healthcare premiums and the high likelihood that many will no longer be able to afford basic care at all, and they will face serious blowback in the midterms", the House Democrats' campaign operation said in a statement. The so-called individual insurance mandate is beyond Congress's power, the new filing argued, now that Congress has eliminated the financial penalty.

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Trudeau called the fact that the USA had based the tariffs on a national security reason "kind of insulting ". He said Trump "did the courtesy to Justin Trudeau to travel up to Quebec for that summit".

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who voted against the Republican repeal bills in the Senate previous year, also expressed concern about the administration's new push, saying it "creates further uncertainty that could ultimately result in higher costs for millions of Americans and undermine essential protections for people with pre-existing conditions, such as asthma, cancer, heart disease, arthritis and diabetes".

Attempts to repeal it in Congress have failed, but opponents of the law have also filed scores of lawsuits challenging various provisions.

"At the very least it adds uncertainty at exactly the moment when plans are trying to set rates for next year", said Ceci Connolly, the chief executive of the Alliance of Community Health Plans. "It's important for consumers to know that the Affordable Care Act and the protections it ensures for their coverage are still the law, and they should continue to see their health providers and plan to shop for coverage this fall as they have any other year", says Imholz.

The same report estimates 391,000 Utahns have pre-existing conditions that could affect their coverage eligibility.

California and 15 other states filed an opposing brief on Thursday defending the law. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said in a statement. Without it, all of the ACA's regulations should be invalid, they said, citing a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

And Tim Hogan, a spokesman for Health Care Voters, a Democratic group looking to mobilize voters on the health care issue, called the decision a "blatant sabotage of the Affordable Care Act" and "something Republican members of Congress will have to explain to their constituents". "Our coalition of states and partners across the country will fight any effort to strip families of their health insurance", he said.

The suit is being heard by Judge Reed O'Connell, who was appointed by President George W. Bush and has ruled against the ACA in other cases the past few years.


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