After failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a Republican-controlled Congress, the Trump administration is seizing on a different strategy for dismantling the law, one fraught with political risk.
Health care is already a dominant issue in this year's elections, with voters regularly citing it as a leading determinant for how they will vote.
People who buy their own insurance, usually because they are self-employed or don't get coverage through their jobs or the government, will be vulnerable.
What happens now? Democrats will gleefully hammer away on Republicans for doing this. HHS and Treasury administer the health law's coverage and subsidies. Until the Trump Administration (which is the target of the lawsuit) filed its views on Thursday, the case had been building without either side knowing what the government position would be. "Picking this fight going into the summer of an election year is mind-boggling". 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.
U.S. Rep. John Faso, R-Kinderhook, said those with pre-existing conditions should not be denied coverage, but the ACA has "failed to deliver on its promise to reduce costs". The Trump administration said in a court filing late Thursday that it will no longer defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act, including the requirement that people have health insurance and provisions that guarantee access to health insurance regardless of any medical conditions.
President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a Cabinet meeting at the White House December 20, 2017 in Washington, DC.
"We did that before with our repeal-and-replace bill".
Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, predicted that the resurrection of the issue would mobilize voters, saying, "There's nothing quite like the administration taking an action in court to illustrate the simple fact that they are still coming after your health care". On Friday, Democratic members of the House of Representatives were furious.
"The American public widely supports retaining protections for pre-existing conditions".
But that was not the talking point of the party's re-election arm.
It's so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care - gasp! - a reality. The states argue that after Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate previous year, effective in 2019, it destabilized other sections of the law.
At issue is a lawsuit filed by 20 Republican state attorneys general on February 26, which charged that Congress' changes to the law in last year's tax bill rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional.
If the administration prevails in the case, the full force of the decision would not hit until after the midterm elections on November 6. Those two were so closely tied to the insurance-buying mandate that they would not work in the health insurance market without the guaranteed pool of insured people that the mandate was designed to create, Administration lawyers contended.
The same report estimates 391,000 Utahns have pre-existing conditions that could affect their coverage eligibility.
Casey accused the administration and congressional Republicans of wanting "to use the courts to enact the rest of their health care scheme - starting by allowing people to be denied coverage due to a pre-existing conditions and charging older Americans more for their health care".
About 1.5 million Californians buy coverage through the state's ACA exchange, Covered California, and almost 4 million have joined Medicaid as a result of the program's expansion under the law. "It's being mugged", King said in a twitter statement on Friday. "This is a sad moment".
More recently, the White House and Department of Health and Human Services have been working to make it easier for consumers to buy relatively low-cost health plans that exclude some of the benefits the ACA requires. But Martin S. Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Obama administration, called the mass withdrawal a likely sign of distress.
The Department in the past has declined to defend a statute in cases in which the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional and made manifest that it should not be defended, as is the case here.See Seth P. Waxman, Defending Congress, 79 N.C. L.Rev. 1073, 1083 (2001)."Such withdrawals are exceedingly rare - typically only when the argument is indefensible, as they are here". Texas wants the provision of the ACA requiring individuals to have health insurance declared unconstitutional.
Some Democratic politicians didn't waste much time.
The Texas case will be decided first by O'Connor, a conservative appointee of President George W. Bush. United States has its roots in another legal travesty that these people also celebrated - the 2012 Supreme Court ruling in NFIB v. Sebelius.