Fresh move against ‘Oba­macare’

Pro­tec­tions on pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions at risk

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

WASH­ING­TON, June 14, (AP): The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s lat­est move against “Oba­macare” could jeop­ar­dize le­gal pro­tec­tions on pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions for mil­lions of peo­ple with em­ployer cov­er­age, par­tic­u­larly work­ers in small busi­nesses, say law and in­sur­ance ex­perts.

At is­sue is At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions’ re­cent de­ci­sion that the Jus­tice Depart­ment will no longer de­fend key parts of the Obama-era Af­ford­able Care Act in court. That in­cludes the law’s un­pop­u­lar re­quire­ment to carry health in­sur­ance, but also widely sup­ported pro­vi­sions that pro­tect peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions and limit what in­sur­ers can charge older, sicker cus­tomers.

Two in­de­pen­dent ex­perts said Wed­nes­day that the ad­min­is­tra­tion ap­pears to be tak­ing aim at pro­vi­sions of the ACA that pro­tect peo­ple in em­ployer plans, not only the smaller pool of con­sumers who buy a pol­icy di­rectly from an in­surer. The new Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion po­si­tion was out­lined last week in a le­gal brief filed by the Jus­tice Depart­ment in a Texas case chal­leng­ing the Obama health law.

Work­ers “could face the prospect of in­sur­ance that doesn’t cover their pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions when they en­roll in a plan with a new em­ployer,” said Larry Le­vitt of the non­par­ti­san Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion.

Univer­sity of Michi­gan law pro­fes­sor Ni­cholas Ba­gley said the ad­min­is­tra­tion does not ap­pear to have thought through all the con­se­quences of mov­ing against one pro­vi­sion of a health law that has

Mur­phy, and both en­cour­aged vot­ers to elect can­di­dates this fall who back “com­mon sense” gun leg­is­la­tion. All US House and one-third of the Se­nate seats will be on the bal­lot.

“The ma­jor­ity of Amer­ica’s youth knows we need this change to sur­vive in our own schools,” Calderon said. The six mea­sures will:

Re­quire a men­tal health pro­fes­sion­als many com­pli­cated in­ter­lock­ing parts.

“The lack of care on the brief is jaw­drop­ping,” said Ba­gley, who supports the Obama health law but con­sid­ers him­self a “free agent” critic of both sides. “There is no ques­tion that the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has to clar­ify what the scope of its in­junc­tion would be and grap­ple with the con­se­quences of mow­ing down parts of the ACA.

“For some­one with a pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tion think­ing about switch­ing jobs, the an­swer to the ques­tion could make a life-chang­ing dif­fer­ence,” added Ba­gley.

In­ten­tions

Both Ba­gley and Le­vitt said their ques­tions about the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s in­ten­tions arose from lan­guage in the Jus­tice Depart­ment brief that specif­i­cally sin­gles out sec­tions of the health law that ap­ply to em­ployer plans. The ACA strength­ened pre­vi­ous pro­tec­tions al­ready in fed­eral law that lim­ited the cir­cum­stances and length of time un­der which an em­ployer could ex­clude cov­er­age for a worker’s pre-ex­ist­ing health prob­lems.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion had no im­me­di­ate re­but­tal to the is­sues raised by the two ex­perts.

In­stead, the Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Depart­ment pointed to com­ments ear­lier in the week by Sec­re­tary Alex Azar, who told sen­a­tors that the Jus­tice Depart­ment brief was a le­gal and con­sti­tu­tional ar­gu­ment, not a pol­icy state­ment.

“We share the view of work­ing to en­sure that in­di­vid­u­als with pre-ex­ist­ing

to warn law en­force­ment if a pa­tient threat­ens se­ri­ous vi­o­lence against them­selves or oth­ers

Al­low for an ex­treme risk pro­tec­tive or­der if a court deems some­one poses a sig­nif­i­cant dan­ger to them­selves or oth­ers. The tem­po­rary court or­der bars the sub­ject from pos­sess­ing or pur­chas­ing a firearm or am­mu­ni­tion.

Re­quire back­ground checks for con­di­tions can have ac­cess to af­ford­able health in­sur­ance,” Azar said. “The pres­i­dent has al­ways shared that and we look for­ward to work­ing with Con­gress un­der all cir­cum­stances to­wards achiev­ing that.”

Nearly 160 mil­lion work­ers and fam­ily mem­bers have cov­er­age through em­ploy­ers, although the num­ber cov­ered by small em­ploy­ers is much smaller.

A health pol­icy ex­pert with a busi­ness or­ga­ni­za­tion that rep­re­sents large em­ploy­ers said he doubted there would be much of an im­pact on ma­jor com­pa­nies, which are bet­ter able to pool risk and have long been ac­cus­tomed to cov­er­ing all em­ploy­ees re­gard­less of health is­sues.

“There will not be a change with any­one who is with a very large em­ployer,” said James Gelfand of the ERISA In­dus­try Com­mit­tee, as the group is known. ERISA is the name of a fed­eral law that gov­erns em­ployee ben­e­fits for big com­pa­nies.

How­ever, Gelfand said the im­pact could “spill over” to small busi­nesses.

Separately, se­nior Repub­li­cans in Con­gress are wast­ing no time in try­ing to dis­tance them­selves from any ef­fort by the ad­min­is­tra­tion to un­der­mine pop­u­lar pro­tec­tions for their con­stituents.

Democrats are ac­cus­ing Repub­li­cans of yet another ef­fort to “sab­o­tage” cov­er­age, and plan to take the is­sue into the fall midterm elec­tions.

“No Amer­i­can should be de­nied health cov­er­age based on their pre-ex­ist­ing med­i­cal con­di­tions,” Sen Or­rin Hatch, R-Utah, said Wed­nes­day.

pri­vate gun sales

Lower the mag­a­zine ca­pac­ity from 15 rounds to 10, with an ex­cep­tion for a pop­u­lar .22-cal­iber ri­fle.

Re­quire res­i­dents to show a “jus­ti­fi­able need” to get a carry per­mit.

Pro­hibit body-ar­mor-pen­e­trat­ing am­mu­ni­tion. (AP)

No pri­vacy for 1-2-3-4 pass­code:

A man serv­ing 18 years in prison in South Carolina for bur­glary was right­fully con­victed in part be­cause he left his cell­phone at the crime scene and a de­tec­tive guessed his pass­code as 1-2-3-4 in­stead of get­ting a war­rant, the state Supreme Court ruled Wed­nes­day.

Lawyers for La­mar Brown ar­gued de­tec­tives in Charleston vi­o­lated Brown’s right to pri­vacy by search­ing his phone with­out a war­rant.

Af­ter stor­ing the cell­phone in an ev­i­dence locker for six days in De­cem­ber 2011, the de­tec­tive guessed right on Brown’s easy pass­code, found a con­tact named “grandma” and was able to work his way back to Brown. (AP)

Crews fight wild­fires:

Fierce wind gusts and bru­tally bone-dry con­di­tions are ex­pected on Thurs­day across a five-state re­gion where fire­fight­ers are wran­gling sev­eral un­re­lent­ing wild­fires that have forced thou­sands of res­i­dents to flee their homes.

Red flag warn­ings have been is­sued for parts of Ne­vada, Ari­zona, Utah, Colorado and Wy­oming, where winds gusts could reach 40 miles (65 km) an hour and hu­mid­ity drop to 5 per­cent through­out the day, the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice said. (RTRS)

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