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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


We’re covering stories from around the nation including a victory for safety for nuclear site workers; President Trump chastises Republicans for not securing border wall funding; and a predicted spike in population fuels concerns about the need for care.

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Long Battle Ahead over ACA Pre-Existing Conditions Provision

While rallies such as this one in support of the Affordable Care Act in 2017 helped save it, expect more rallies and protests as court battles over its protections heat up. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)
While rallies such as this one in support of the Affordable Care Act in 2017 helped save it, expect more rallies and protests as court battles over its protections heat up. (Ted Eytan/Flickr)
June 18, 2018

AUGUSTA, Maine – It promises to be a long, bumpy road ahead for the Department of Justice, which essentially is arguing against the Affordable Care Act in federal court where DOJ attorneys usually defend federal policies.

The Trump administration opposes provisions in the ACA, passed during the Obama administration, that require insurance companies to accept all applicants. If they don't that likely would mean an end to health insurance for many people with preexisting conditions.

More than a 500,000 Mainers under age 65 have preexisting health conditions, and a new
Kaiser Family Foundation poll shows 70 percent of Americans want affordable, health insurance protections for those people.

Karen Pollitz, a senior fellow with the foundation, says without it, insurance companies could opt to end coverage for any number of ailments.

"It didn't have to be something serious like HIV or diabetes,” she states. “It could be allergies, it could be earaches in little kids, really any health condition. Kind of part of the human condition at some point to have some health problem."

Maine decided in the 1990s that insurance companies doing business in the state couldn’t evaluate people based on their medical history.

While the Trump administration joined 20 states, including Maine, in this month's brief that says the ACA is unconstitutional, attorneys general from 16 states, including Massachusetts, have filed a brief defending the law.

According to Pollitz, the Affordable Care Act will continue to be a hot topic as local elections come up.

"Now the Trump administration has said that they will not defend the law, so it's going to be kind of a battle of the states in federal court over the constitutionality of these market reforms," she states.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Angus King of Maine sent out an SOS on social media alerting the public to the danger in denying health coverage for preexisting conditions, or making it so expensive that it amounts to a denial.

He said if the Justice Department doesn't speak up to defend the ACA, he will.

Linda Barr, Public News Service - ME