As the nation, as a whole, was focused primarily on Attorney General William Barr's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Trump administration attempted to put an end to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) once and for all, Newsweek reports. On Wednesday, the president formally asked a federal appeals court to put an end to the ACA, also known as Obamacare, in a move that would leave more than 20 million Americans without health insurance coverage.
In filing the brief, the Trump administration joined a number of conservative states in attempting to uphold a 2018 ruling that would end the law. The previous ruling was made by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor. According to the Trump administration, the ACA should be deemed unconstitutional in its entirely on the premise that Congress has ended the tax penalty for not having heath insurance, thus calling into question their jurisdiction over Americans' health insurance.
While initially the intent was to remove only certain parts of the law, the administration has apparently shifted its position in favor of eliminating it altogether.
"The remaining provisions of the ACA should not be allowed to remain in effect — again, even if the government might support some individual positions as a policy matter," the brief says.A team led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has appealed O'Connor's ruling.
"Our legal coalition will vigorously defend the law and the Americans President Trump has abandoned," Becerra said in a statement released Wednesday. That coalition includes Democratic attorneys general from a number of states.
The appeals court will begin oral arguments in July. After that, the case could make its way to the Supreme Court.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a monthly poll on the ACA shows that most Americans have a favorable view of the legislation. As of now, neither the Trump administration, nor Congressional Republicans have come up with an alternative plan to put in place in the absence of the ACA. If the law were repealed, there would be a range of consequences for Americans affected.
"Trump has now gone further than ever before in his efforts to strike down the entire ACA. He wants to take health care away from millions of Americans and hurt millions more with pre-existing conditions," said Daniel Wessel of the Democratic National Committee. "Democrats won't stop fighting to protect Americans' health care, and voters will hold Trump accountable on Election Day."