Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the doctor, yet another ACA lawsuit rears its ugly head. Recently, the Justice Department said it would support an existing lawsuit brought by a coalition of 20 states that claims key provisions of the ACA are unconstitutional.
According to sources, the Justice Department, in support of the lawsuit, said Thursday that it believes several ACA requirements are unconstitutional and should be struck down. Those include the requirement for people to have health insurance and another that prohibits insurers from denying coverage or charging people higher premiums based on health status and other factors.
“This is a significant threat that could affect a wide group of people,” says Timothy Jost, a health policy expert and professor emeritus at the Washington and Lee School of Law.
Consumer groups and patient advocates are worried. “Actions like this only destabilize the markets and stir more uncertainty for insurers, resulting in higher premiums and costs for consumers,” says Betsy Imholz, special projects director for Consumers Union, the advocacy division of Consumer Reports.
And this suit could also affect the more than 50 percent of Americans with employer-paid, group health insurance, not just those who buy it on the individual markets. That’s because insurers would no longer be required by federal law to provide what’s known as guaranteed coverage and would be allowed to charge higher rates for people they think would be more costly.
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