Worker protections seen at risk
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 pre-existing 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 pre-existing 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 many complicated interlocking parts.