Judge questions Trump administration motives on association health plans

January 24, 2019, Modern Healthcare, Susannah Luthi - The Trump administration’s paper trail of Obamacare criticism could spell trouble for newly expanded association health plans. U.S. District Judge John Bates on Thursday repeatedly challenged the Justice Department’s assertion that the Trump administration’s final rule on association health plans, or AHPs, didn’t aim to reshape the Affordable Care Act exchanges. The judge appeared to take the Trump administration’s intent very seriously as he pondered whether the Department of Labor overstepped its authority in expanding AHPs - the argument at the heart of Democratic state attorneys general’s lawsuit to overturn the final rule. “The case seems to me a dispute between Congress and the administration - an executive dispute with a former Congress,” Bates said near the end of Justice Department’s arguments.

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