The latest loss came when a federal judge struck down a Trump administration rule aimed at enabling millions of Americans to buy cheap health insurance plans that do not comply with key Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requirements. The rule was part of Trump’s efforts to chip away at the healthcare law after he could not get Congress to repeal it.
The judge said that Trump’s attempt to make cheap health insurance plans available that avoid the requirements of Obamacare was illegal.
It was the second loss in court for Trump in as many days.
The day before, another U.S. District Judge blocked the administration’s plans for Medicaid recipients in Kentucky and Arkansas to be subject to work requirements in exchange for health benefits.
The newest ruling, came from U.S. District Judge John D. Bates of the District of Columbia, who expressed his contempt for what Trump was trying to do.
“The final rule is clearly an end-run around the Affordable Care Act,” Bates, an appointee of President George W. Bush, wrote in the ruling, before adding:
“Indeed, as the president directed, and the secretary of labor confirmed, the final rule was designed to expand access to cheap, noncompliant association plans to avoid the most stringent requirements of the Affordable Care Act.”
The rule, put forward by the U.S. Department of Labor, would have allowed small businesses and those who are self-employed to band together in “associations” that would allow them to buy cheap health insurance policies that did not comply with federal law on minimum coverages.
Obamacare requirements include mandatory coverage for a set of 10 essential health benefits, such as maternity and newborn care, prescription drug costs and mental health treatment. Under Trump’s rules employers could create so-called “associations” that would be exempt from these mandatory coverages, to the detriment of employees who would lose valuable healthcare benefits.
Trump’s move was strongly opposed by doctors, hospitals, insurers and other medical groups. They said that if Trump’s rule was allowed to be put in place it would drive up health insurance premiums and make insurance unaffordable for millions of people.
“These provisions are unlawful and must be set aside,” Bates said in his ruling.
Trump keeps trying to take away healthcare from Americans, and he keeps losing in court. Hopefully next year he will also lose at the ballot box and we can get new leadership who actually wants to help Americans by providing them the healthcare they need.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.