Last year, President Trump made the decision in the new tax bill that individuals who decided not to have health insurance coverage would not have to pay a tax penalty starting in 2019. Technically, the tax penalty was eliminated and not the individual mandate.
Several attorneys general have sued in federal court stating that the entire individual mandate must now be ruled unconstitutional since the tax penalty has been eliminated. When the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the individual mandate, it based its ruling in part on the fact that the Congress has the power to tax. The attorneys general contend that since the tax is off the table, the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
The Justice Department has told the federal court hearing the case that they will not be arguing in favor of keeping the individual mandate in tact. The Justice Department is agreeing that the mandate is unconstitutional, reports The New York Times. The Justice Department, the Trump administration and many Republicans believe that if the individual mandate is ruled unconstitutional, the entire Affordable Care Act will be finished.
What many people may not realize is that that the individual mandate is linked with insurance companies having to accept everyone regardless of whether or not they have a pre-existing condition. Under the current low, insurers must accept all people, and they are not allowed to charge an additional premium for those who have certain medical conditions.
The Trump administration has made the case in recent months that some plans should be allowed to be sold that would allow insurers to bar people with pre-existing conditions. Those with pre-existing conditions would also be able to be charged more for insurance.
It will be many months before this case makes its way through the federal courts. The issue may end up back with the Supreme Court. Critics believe that if the courts eventually side with the Justice Department, the ACA will be finished, and many people will lose their healthcare coverage as a result.