Health Care Fight Could End Up Being ‘Politically Catastrophic’ for Republicans

A court has blocked a Trump administration rule allowing cheaper health insurance plans that don't provide consumer protections required by the federal Affordable Care Act

Judge rules against measure meant to undermine ACA

A federal judge has struck down a small-business health insurance plan widely touted by President Donald Trump, the second setback in a week for the administration's health care initiatives.

But in the biggest case, a federal judge in Texas ruled last December that the ACA is unconstitutional and should be struck down in its entirety.

The litigation could take months to resolve and there's no guarantee Trump will get the outcomes he wants before the 2020 election.

"Was this a good week for the Trump administration?"

The publication reports that it is the president himself who is behind the effort, following inside coverage last week that the decision was a product of a bitter internal fight that split acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney from two cabinet secretaries. According to a new Urban Institute study, abolishing the ACA without anything to replace it would cause 20 million Americans to lose their health insurance.

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Romney campaigned for the repeal and replacement of former President Barack Obama's health care law, but not with another one-size-fits-all bureaucratic plan. And The Hill is reporting that Republicans in the Senate are fearful that they will pay a dear price politically next year because of the lawsuit. These, along with over 100 million with pre-existing conditions, are at risk of losing coverage or protections afforded by the ACA. Mitt Romney (R-UT) is now pitching in on helping the Trump administration come up with an Affordable Care Act replacement. District of Columbia-based U.S. District Court Judge John Bates said that the move let those involved "avoid the most stringent requirements of the ACA". His ruling is being appealed by attorneys general from Democratic-led states to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The lawsuit was brought by NY, 10 other states and the District of Columbia past year.

In a brief last June, the Justice Department said there were grounds only to strike down the law's consumer protections, including those for patients with pre-existing conditions. All sides expect the case to go to the Supreme Court, which has twice before upheld the ACA. The judge questioned whether the requirements were compatible with Medicaid's central goal of providing "medical assistance" to low-income people.

Bates' ruling comes after an intense week in the courts for the administration's health care policies.

Association health plans also have faced opposition at the state level. His ruling seems to signal limits to how far the Trump administration can advance with its strategy of relying on regulations to transform health care.

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