The Justice Department under President Donald Trump is moving to ensure Americans with preexisting medical conditions pay more for their health insurance – if they can even obtain such coverage in the first place.
According to The Los Angeles Times, the Justice Department argued Thursday in a Texas court that because Republicans removed the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act last year, the provision covering preexisting conditions – which ensures everyone can be covered and at a reasonable cost – is no longer valid because people will game the system.
“Congress found that enforcing guaranteed issue and community-rating requirements without an individual mandate would allow individuals to game the system by waiting until they were sick to purchase health insurance, thereby increasing the price of insurance for everyone else — the polar opposite of what Congress sought in enacting the ACA,” the department’s brief argues.
The argument is not wrong: People will take advantage by buying up insurance at the last minute, because there is no incentive to pay for insurance until it’s needed.
But why is this situation occurring in the first place? Because Republicans cut that incentive from the law.
The Justice Department is taking the argument of why an individual mandate was an essential part of the ACA’s insurance reforms, and using it to take down those reforms now that the mandate has been snuffed by Congress. Not that the administration is wrong about what will happen now that the mandate has been killed — what’s wrong is arguing that the havoc Republicans wreaked upon the individual market justifies doing even more harm to the people in it.
At the end of the day, the Trump administration is working toward returning Americans to a system of health care that benefits the wealthy and healthy at the expense of those less fortunate.
And not only is it callous, it goes against what the majority of Americans want:
A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in June 2017 showed that 70% of those polled, including 59% of Republicans, wanted Washington to continue barring insurers from charging people with preexisting conditions more for their coverage. Federal law has long provided such protection for people with health benefits at work; the ACA extended it to people shopping independently for insurance.