Jun 22, 2018

How Trump's ACA case differs from Obama's

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said earlier this week that the Justice Department’s approach to the Affordable Care Act’s protections for pre-existing conditions is not as big a deal as it's being made out to be, because it’s the same position the Obama administration took in 2012.

Reality check: It’s true that the two positions are the same, but they’re being made under very different circumstances.

Flashback: When the Supreme Court heard its landmark ACA case in 2012, the Obama administration said the law’s individual mandate was constitutional. The Trump administration says it’s not. That’s one pretty big distinction between the two arguments.

  • The Obama administration did say that if the court struck down the mandate, it should also strike down provisions requiring insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and prohibiting them from charging people with those conditions a higher premium. It said the rest of the law should stand.

The big difference: Congress. When courts delve into “severability” questions, they’re trying to figure out how a statute is supposed to function.

  • In 2012, the courts were considering a law with an individual mandate and coverage guarantees for pre-existing conditions. They were trying to figure out whether Congress would have included one without the other.
  • But critics of the Trump administration will argue that Congress has now answered that question. It repealed the individual mandate; it didn’t repeal guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions.
  • The Democratic attorneys general defending the ACA in this case will argue that Congress severed the two provisions, so Congress clearly saw them as severable.

The bottom line: Severability is about congressional intent, and Congress said two different things in these two cases.

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Updates: George Floyd protests enter 12th day

Protesters in Washington, D.C. on June 6. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Tens of thousands of demonstrators are rallying in cities across the U.S. and around the world to protest the killing of George Floyd. Huge crowds have assembled in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and Chicago for full-day events.

Why it matters: Twelve days of nationwide protest in the U.S. has built pressure for states to make new changes on what kind of force law enforcement can use on civilians and prompted officials to review police conduct.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

In photos: People around the world rally against racism

Despite a ban on large gatherings implemented in response to the coronavirus pandemic, protesters rally against racism in front of the American Embassy in Paris on June 6. Photo: Julien Mattia/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tens of thousands of people have continued to rally in cities across the world against racism and show their support this week for U.S. demonstrators protesting the death in police custody of George Floyd.

Why it matters: The tense situation in the U.S. has brought the discussion of racism and discrimination onto the global stage at a time when most of the world is consumed by the novel coronavirus.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 6,852,810 — Total deaths: 398,211 — Total recoveries — 3,071,142Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 1,917,080 — Total deaths: 109,702 — Total recoveries: 500,849 — Total tested: 19,778,873Map.
  3. Public health: Why the pandemic is hitting minorities harder — Coronavirus curve rises in FloridaHow racism threatens the response to the pandemic Some people are drinking and inhaling cleaning products in attempt to fight the virus.
  4. Tech: The pandemic is accelerating next-generation disease diagnostics — Robotics looks to copy software-as-a-service model.
  5. Business: Budgets busted by coronavirus make it harder for cities to address inequality Sports, film production in California to resume June 12 after 3-month hiatus.
  6. Education: Students and teachers flunked remote learning.