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Valued Social Butterfly
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hideously unpopular position

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https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/06/08/republicans-embrace-a-hideously-unpopul...

 

Republicans embrace a hideously unpopular position just before the elections

 

 

Back when Republicans were trying to come up with a way to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they quickly realized that while most Americans had only a vague sense of what was in the law, there were parts of it that were extraordinarily popular. That included the expansion of Medicaid, allowing young people to stay on their parents’ insurance up to age 26, and forbidding insurance companies from denying anyone coverage or charging them more because of pre-existing conditions, which just about all of us either already have or will one day have.

 

The popularity of those provisions made repeal politically dangerous, so Republicans decided to leave the popular parts in place and try to repeal only the unpopular parts. Even that, however, proved impossible to do, and in the end they settled for a small morsel: Tucked into their tax cut bill was a provision effectively repealing the individual mandate by reducing the fine for not carrying insurance to zero.

 

Which set the stage for a new lawsuit from a group of conservative states seeking to strike down the entire ACA, and now the Trump administration has taken a position in that lawsuit that is utterly spectacular in its legal and political foolishness.

 

It’s so foolish, in fact, that it could wind up making something like single-payer health care — gasp! — a reality.

 

For now, I don’t want to go too deeply into the legal issues at play; this post from Nicholas Bagley explains it all. The short version is that the administration is refusing to defend the ACA in court, even though it’s standard practice for the Justice Department to defend laws even when they don’t agree with them. Jonathan Cohn summarizes the position they’re taking, particularly with regard to pre-existing conditions:

 

The lawsuit’s key argument is that Congress intended for the pre-existing condition protections to work in tandem with the law’s individual mandate, the provision that people have insurance or pay a penalty. Now that Congress has decided to zero out the penalty, as Republicans did last year as part of the 2017 tax cut, the pre-existing conditions have to go, too.

 

That would mean insurers would no longer be subject to “guaranteed issue” (a requirement that they sell policies to anybody, regardless of medical status) or “community rating” (a prohibition on charging higher premiums to people with pre-existing conditions).

Most legal scholars seem to think this suit is unlikely to succeed. But take a moment to marvel at the position the administration has taken: They think insurance companies should once again be able to deny you coverage or charge you outrageous premiums because you have a pre-existing condition.

 

If Democrats don’t repeat that sentence a thousand times a day between now and November, they’re nuts.

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