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Justice Department says heart of health law unconstitutional

09 June 2018

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.

The DOJ believes pre-existing conditions and the individual mandate must go hand-in-hand, claiming that part of the law is now unconstitutional.

The Trump administration's move fueled accusations that it was politicizing the Justice Department, which is supposed to defend the constitutionality of federal statutes in court - even if the administration in power does not like them - if reasonable arguments can be made. The first, known as guaranteed issue, requires insurers to offer coverage to everyone regardless of their health background.

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"The decision by the Department of Justice to abandon critical patient protections is devastating for the millions of Americans who suffer from serious illnesses or have preexisting conditions and rely on those protections under current law to obtain life-saving health care", wrote a coalition of patient advocacy groups, including the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association. But under the GOP tax bill signed into law last December, tax penalties for people without insurance were eliminated.

In many ways, the lawsuit, filed in February, is a replay of the politically divided litigation that ended with the United States supreme court upholding the healthcare overhaul in 2012. Typically, the department defends federal laws in court.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a letter to Congress on Thursday that Trump, who campaigned on repealing the law and almost did so his first year in office, approved the legal strategy.

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The US attorney general, Jeff Sessions, said in a letter to Congress on Thursday that Trump, who campaigned on repealing the law and almost did so his first year in office, approved the legal strategy.

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.

Americans are very divided over the Affordable Care Act, but one piece that many support is the law's protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Indeed, sign-up season for 2018 under the Trump administration resulted in only a slight enrollment drop-off from Obama's past year. If granted, the request would also lead to higher premiums for.

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The mandate in Obamacare was meant to ensure a viable health insurance market by forcing younger and healthier Americans to buy coverage.

Justice Department says heart of health law unconstitutional