Senate GOP wary in Trump's revived health care battle

Kenny Tucker
March 31, 2019

In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said on Monday night that it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the health care law which was signed into legislation by former President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates ruled in Washington late Thursday that a Trump administration regulation creating the new small-business plans was "clearly an end-run" around the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, often called "Obamacare".

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates blocked a rule that was finalized a year ago that allows small businesses and self-employed people to band together to purchase insurance known as association health plans. On Wednesday another federal judge blocked Medicaid work requirements for low-income people.

"They have a new message: People don't deserve quality health care and insurance companies should discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions", House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) said.

Proponents say the plans are attractive to middle-class Americans who may not qualify for federal Obamacare health insurance subsidies.

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President Donald Trump has hailed the small-business plans as a big success, but their impact is hard to measure.

House Democrats will vote on April 2 on a resolution condemning President Donald Trump's decision to call for the elimination of the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare.

"We're pleased that the District Court saw past the Trump Administration's transparent effort to sabotage our healthcare system and gut these critical consumer protections in the service of its own partisan agenda", Letitia James, New York's attorney general said in a prepared statement.

The Trump administration's plan "unreasonably expands the definition of "employers" to include groups without any real commonality of interest and to bring working owners without employees within ERISA's scope despite Congress's clear intent that ERISA cover benefits arising out of employment relationships", Bates wrote. If "Obamacare" is overturned Republicans would be on the hook in the 2020 election year to come up with an alternative.

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