Capitol Correspondence - 04.15.19

Congressional Committees Scrutinizing DOJ’s Refusal to Defend ACA (Includes Pre-Existing Conditions)

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ANCOR is sharing this article by Politico because the Affordable Care Act (ACA, also known as ObamaCare) contains provisions protecting individuals from insurance companies denying them coverage if they have pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies consider intellectual / developmental disabilities to be a pre-existing condition. Currently, 20 GOP-led states have challenged the legality of the entire ACA, which the Department of Justice (DOJ) has refused to demand in court. Arguments for the lawsuit are slated to be heard in July.

As shared by Politico:

“House Democrats are demanding that the Trump administration turn over a trove of documents tied to its refusal to defend Obamacare in court, marking an escalation in the political battle over a case that’s put health care for millions at risk.

The chairmen of five House committees sent letters to the White House, Justice Department and top Trump health officials seeking information on the administration’s recent decision to support the health care law’s full elimination in court. They called the administration’s new legal position a ‘sudden and significant reversal’ that violates the federal government’s longstanding precedent of defending its own laws.

‘The Department owes Congress and the public an explanation as to why it refuses to enforce the law,’ the Democrats wrote to Attorney General Bill Barr, who is scheduled to testify before a House appropriations subcommittee Tuesday morning.

Their letter seeks the DOJ’s legal justification for declaring Obamacare unconstitutional as well as internal communications about the case. It also demands that DOJ make four of its attorneys available to testify.

Those signing the letter include: Judiciary chairman Jerry Nadler, Oversight chairman Elijah Cummings, Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal, Energy and Commerce chairman Frank Pallone, and Education and Labor chairman Bobby Scott.

The chairmen sent separate letters seeking documents on the Obamacare case to White House counsel Pat Cipollone, as well as HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma.”