Trump Asks Supreme Court To Overturn Obamacare In The Midst Of A Pandemic
On Thursday, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which if successful “would permanently end the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans,” The New York Times reported.
- The administration submitted its brief one hour before the midnight deadline, according to the report, joining “Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate.”
- Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco argued in the brief “that the health law’s two remaining central provisions are now invalid because Congress intended that all three work together.”
“Nothing the 2017 Congress did demonstrates it would have intended the rest of the A.C.A. to continue to operate in the absence of these three integral provisions,” the brief said, using the abbreviation for the name of the health care law. “The entire A.C.A. thus must fall with the individual mandate.”
- Two previous Supreme Court rulings on the ACA left most of the law in place.
- Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled for this case, but The Times reported that they are most likely to take place around the time Americans hit the polls in November.
- The court has agreed to consider three questions in the case,The Times reported: “whether Texas and two individual plaintiffs who have joined the suit have standing; whether Congress rendered the individual mandate unconstitutional; and, if it did, whether the rest of the law must fall with it.”
- An analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that if the Supreme Court determines that all or part of the law must be overturned, “it would affect “nearly every American in some way.”
- Though Republicans claimed for years that they want to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, they have yet to agree on what a replacement would look like.
The Times noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi scheduled a Monday vote on a measure to expand the ACA, “in an effort to draw a sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans.”
“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement late Thursday night, after the administration’s brief was filed.
“If President Trump gets his way,” she added, “130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the A.C.A.’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely.”
Axios reported on Thursday that enrollment in the ACA was up 46 percent this year, “representing an increase of 154,000 people,” according to the federal government’s data. The government’s report cited "job losses due to COVID-19” as reason for the increase.