Under Attorney General William Barr, the Justice Department will no longer defend any portion of the Affordable Care Act, saying on Monday that the entire law should be struck down, according to CNN.
The DOJ said in a federal appeals court filing that it agreed with a federal judge’s ruling in Texas that invalidated the healthcare law and "is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed."
Under Barr’s predecessor, Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department held that “the community rating rule and the guaranteed issue requirement -- protections for people with pre-existing conditions -- could not be defended but the rest of the law could stand,” CNN noted.
Monday’s filing represents a dramatic reversal of that position.
The Trump administration has promised numerous times to protect people with pre-existing positions, but this latest move by the Justice Department would break that promise.
Federal District Judge Reed O'Connor previously struck down the entire law, landing the case before one of the most conservative appellate courts in the country, which CNN said “almost guarantees that the issue will return to the newly solidified conservative Supreme Court at some point.”
If the ACA is overturned, it will not only disrupt insurance coverage for the millions of Americans who purchase their insurance on the exchanges or receive coverage thanks to the Medicaid expansion; it will also affect senior citizens savings on Medicare coverage and prescription drug prices, as well as many Americans’ access to free free birth control, mammograms and cholesterol tests.
The effort is being fought in court by a group of 21 Democratic states, led by California, and after Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, House lawyers filed briefs in support of the law as well.
"On the very first day that the Democratic Majority held the gavel, the House of Representatives voted to intervene against Republicans' monstrous health care lawsuit to defend people with pre-existing conditions and the health care of all Americans," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. "While the Trump Administration broadens its monstrous ambitions from destroying protections for pre-existing conditions to tearing down every last benefit and protection the Affordable Care Act provides, Democrats are fiercely defending the law of the land and protecting all Americans' health care."