The Trump administration on Thursday night urged the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, pushing forward with its attack on the health care law as millions of newly jobless Americans may come to depend on its coverage.
The Justice Department in a new legal brief argues Obamacare in its entirety became invalid when the previous Republican-led Congress axed the unpopular individual mandate penalty for uninsured people. The filing comes weeks after President Donald Trump confirmed his administration would continue to press for Obamacare’s elimination, ignoring warnings from top aides about the risk of voter backlash in November.
“No further analysis is necessary; once the individual mandate and the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions are invalidated, the remainder of the ACA cannot survive,” the Justice Department stated.
Trump’s new legal brief offers fresh ammunition to Democrats and their presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, who believe their advantage on health care will help the party retake the White House and possibly the Senate this fall. On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced plans to vote on legislation building on the Affordable Care Act, timing the bill to draw a contrast with Trump’s legal attack on the law during the coronavirus emergency.
The Trump-backed lawsuit, brought by a group of Republican-led states, puts at risk health insurance for more than 20 million people covered by Obamacare, as well as insurance protections for people with preexisting medical conditions. Biden during a Thursday campaign event attacked Trump for seeking to upend those protections when a growing number of coronavirus survivors are developing potentially long-term health complications.
“They would live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus, and his heartless crusade to take health care protections away from American families,” Biden said.
House Democrats, who are leading Obamacare’s legal defense alongside Democratic state attorneys general, two years ago won back the chamber by running on a health care law that’s grown more popular since Republicans’ failed repeal effort during Trump’s first year in office. Powerful health care industry groups have also rallied to defend the law, which has largely boosted their profits, as they also try to fend off the left’s push for “Medicare for All” and other broader expansions of government-backed coverage.