President Donald Trump is having trouble with his attempts to undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as Obamacare — and reshape Medicaid due to opposition from the courts. Most recently, federal judges ruled against two of Trump’s proposals — Medicaid work requirements and association health plans.
Per Vox, some of Trump’s defeats were the result of technicalities, but others were deemed to violate federal law due to their aggressive nature.
“They’re pushing the boundaries on what is legally acceptable while not doing themselves any favors on the process,” Katie Keith, a Georgetown University law professor, told Vox.
“The courts care more about what the policies do than what the administration says they do. As a result, they’re concluding the policies are unlawful.”
On Thursday, a federal judge blocked a Trump administration rule allowing small businesses and self-employed people to set up and purchase their own health insurance plans that don’t meet the requirements of the ACA. John D. Bates of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said that the rule was a blatant attempt to undermine Obamacare.
Trump believes that such small-business health plans can help owners “save massive amounts of money and have much better health care.” However, Judge Bates claims that the rule attempting to pave the way for these plans was unlawful. Specifically, he said that it “does violence” to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, which provides the framework for pension plans in private industry, where health plans cover tens of millions of Americans.
A federal judge just said Trump's war on the ACA has gone too far.— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) March 29, 2019
It's the second time in as many days we've seen such a ruling -- and this time, the judge was a GOP appointee. https://t.co/7KvlUHepE5
Bates also said that the Trump administration stretched the statutory definition of “employer” to include “any association of disparate employers connected by geographic proximity.” It also covered self-employed sole proprietors with businesses that have no employees, which Bates said would lead to “absurd results.” For example, two business owners without any employees would qualify as both employees and employers.
Letitia James, the attorney general of the state of New York, spoke of the lawsuit, which was filed by New York, along with 10 other states.
“We are pleased that the District Court saw past the Trump administration’s transparent effort to sabotage our health care system and gut these critical consumer protections in the service of its partisan agenda.”
Per The New York Times, the ruling comes not long after a judge blocked Medicaid work requirements in Kentucky and Kansas on Wednesday.
Despite the troubles, Trump has claimed that he is going to replace the ACA and suggested that Obamacare is too much for people to afford. Specifically, he argues that the deductibility is far too high, which makes it unusable.