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Trump Administration Asks 5th Circuit to Let All of ACA Die

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The administration of President Donald Trump is taking a new position on the Texas v. United States suit: The administration now says it’s fine with the federal courts letting all of the Affordable Care Act die.

(Related: Appeals Court Freezes the Texas v. USA Affordable Care Act Suit)

Texas and other Republican-led states sued in a federal district court in Texas to overturn the ACA, arguing that the entire ACA must be thrown out, because the provision requiring many people to have a minimum level of health coverage is unconstitutional.

The courts should kill all of the ACA, because the ACA contains no provision that keeps the rest of the law in place if one part is found to be unconstitutional, according to Texas and the other plaintiffs.

Lawyers at Trump’s Justice Department asked the district court judge to overturn only the health coverage mandate and some provisions closely related to the mandate, such as the ACA restrictions on medical underwriting, and the ACA major medical coverage pricing rules.

Judge Reed O’Connor, the judge in Texas, agreed with Texas and the other plaintiffs. He ruled that all of the ACA should be thrown out.

California, New York state and other states that support the ACA are seeking permission to intervene in the case, and to fight to keep the ACA in place.

The Trump administration “has “determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the Justice Department says in the new, two-sentence filing. “Because the United States is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed, the government intends to file a brief on the appellees’ schedule.”

The ACA includes many provisions unrelated to major medical insurance, such as provisions for phasing out the Medicare Part D prescription drug plan donut hole and geriatric care education programs for health care providers. If the ACA were thrown out completely, without any replacement being in place, the consequences could include a return of the Medicare Part D donut hole to pre-ACA levels.

Matt Eyles, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement that the district court’s decision was misguided and wrong.

“So, too, is the government’s reversal to now support it,” Eyles said. “This harmful position puts coverage at risk for more than 100 million Americans that rely on it. We will continue to engage on this issue as it continues through the appeals process so we can support and strengthen affordable coverage for every American.”

— Read Federal Judge Nominated by Obama Dismisses Maryland ‘Obamacare’ Suiton ThinkAdvisor.

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