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Columbus Joins Five Other Cities in Lawsuit Accusing Trump of Sabotaging Obamacare

Lauren Sega Lauren Sega Columbus Joins Five Other Cities in Lawsuit Accusing Trump of Sabotaging Obamacare
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The City of Columbus and five other U.S. cities are the latest entities to come together in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump and his administration. With the filing of a 130-page complaint, Columbus, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Chicago, and citizens of Charlottesville, VA, have accused the Trump Administration of unlawfully sabotaging the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“In systematically attacking the health law, President Trump is increasing the cost of health coverage and the number of uninsured Americans, and is violating his constitutional duty to ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed,’” said a statement released by the office of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein.

The lawsuit asserts the Trump Administration has undermined the ACA by eliminating protections that it guarantees, deterring citizens from enrolling in quality health insurance plans, driving up costs, directing agencies to sabotage the act, attempting to destabilize exchanges, working to decrease enrollment, and refusing to defend the act.

There have been repeated attempts to repeal and replace — or outright repeal — the ACA, none of which have ended successfully. Republicans introduced a repeal-and-replace bill, the America Health Care Act (AHCA), in March 2017, but it went nowhere. Another repeal-only bill appeared in July 2017, but three GOP senators (and 48 Democrats) killed it. In September 2017, a third bill was introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), but it was done in again by three dissenting GOP senators.

As the Washington Post notes in an article published back in April, although attempts to repeal Obamacare may have failed, the Trump administration has been chipping away at it since the president’s first day in office, when he signed an executive order to “minimize the unwarranted economic and regulatory burdens” of the act.

That same day, the Department of Health and Human Services removed information on how to sign up for coverage from the healthcare.gov website.

Since then, open enrollment has been cut from 12 weeks to six; funding has vanished from the ACA’s outreach and advertising initiatives; and insurers are no longer receiving cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments. These payments reimbursed insurers for discounts that the ACA requires to help low-income enrollees afford their deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs.

“President Trump announced his Administration’s goal is to dismantle the ACA by executive action alone, until ‘Obamacare is finished,’ the release continues. “By attempting to undermine the duly enacted Affordable Care Act, the Administration’s actions violate both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.”

Read the full lawsuit here.

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