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“A Truly Indefensible Position” Trump Administration Asks Court To Tear Down Affordable Care Act

Last night, the Trump administration filed its brief in the Texas lawsuit, arguing that the court should overturn the Affordable Care Act, dismantle protections for people with pre-existing conditions, force premiums and drug costs to rise, and end Medicaid expansion.

Take a look for yourself:

Associated Press: Trump, GOP States Ask Appeals Court To Kill The Affordable Care Act. “Taking a harder line on health care, the Trump administration joined a coalition of Republican-led states Wednesday in asking a federal appeals court to entirely overturn former President Barack Obama’s signature health care law — a decision that could leave millions uninsured… A court victory would fulfill Trump’s goal of undoing the law, but it could be politically costly for the GOP by ending popular provisions such as protection for pre-existing conditions and coverage for young adults on their parents’ health plans.” [Associated Press, 5/1/19]

New York Times: Trump Administration Files Formal Request To Strike Down All Of Obamacare. “In filing the brief, the administration abandoned an earlier position — that some portions of the law, including the provision allowing states to expand their Medicaid programs, should stand. The switch, which the administration disclosed in late March, has confounded many people in Washington, even within the Republican Party, who came to realize that health insurance and a commitment to protecting the A.C.A. were among the main issues that propelled Democrats to a majority in the House of Representatives last fall.” [New York Times, 5/1/19]

Axios: The Trump Administration’s Case For Killing The ACA. “Even that logic only takes you as far as striking down the mandate and protections for pre-existing conditions — the provisions Congress said were tied together. But that’s not the case DOJ is making. It says the whole ACA should go.” [Axios, 5/2/19]

USA Today: Filing “Signaled A No-Holds-Barred Effort By The Justice Department To Wipe Out A Law That Has Extended Insurance To 20 Million Americans.” The court filing, while expected since late March, signaled a no-holds-barred effort by the Justice Department to wipe out a law that has extended health insurance to 20 million Americans. In court papers filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, the administration argued that Congress made the law untenable in 2017 by eliminating tax penalties for people who do not purchase insurance. The provision was part of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul passed by Republicans in 2017.” [USA Today, 5/1/19]

CNN: “If The Law Is Struck Down, It Would Be A Major Victory For President Donald Trump, Who Has Worked His Entire Presidency To Wipe Away A Signature Legislative Achievement Of The Obama Administration.” “The Trump administration offered its first full argument Wednesday for its reversal on the Affordable Care Act, arguing in new court filings that the entire law ‘should not be allowed to remain in effect.’…If the law is struck down, it would be a major victory for President Donald Trump, who has worked his entire presidency to wipe away a signature legislative achievement of the Obama administration.” [CNN, 5/1/19]

Wall Street Journal: Filing “Is A Legal, Political, And Policy Gamble By The Trump Administration, Suggesting How Much The President Still Wants To Dismantle His Predecessor’s Signature Health Law.” “The department’s shift is a legal, political and policy gamble by the Trump administration, suggesting how much the president still wants to dismantle his predecessor’s signature health law after a failed ACA repeal effort by congressional Republicans in 2017…If the Republican lawsuit is successful, it would doom all of the sprawling ACA, including its Medicaid expansion, health insurance market changes, new taxes, insurance premium subsidies, changes to the way health providers get paid and state grants to combat chronic disease. It would also end the ACA’s coverage protections for people with pre-existing health conditions, an especially contentious political issue in the 2018 midterm elections.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/1/19]

Experts were outraged:

Jonathan Adler, Conservative Legal Scholar: “The Department Of Justice Disregarded Its Own Long-Standing Norms And Practices In Refusing To Defend A Readily Defensible Federal Law.” “‘The Department of Justice disregarded its own long-standing norms and practices in refusing to defend a readily defensible federal law and failing to urge the court to dismiss this case in the first place,’ said Jonathan H. Adler, a professor of law at Case Western Reserve University School of Law who is no fan of the health care law but has questioned the current legal challenge, on Wednesday.” [CNN, 5/1/19]

Nicholas Bagley, Professor Of Law At University Of Michigan: “It Is A Truly Indefensible Position. This Is Just Partisan Hardball.” ”This is a testament to the outrageousness of the Justice Department position, that no reasonable argument could be made in the statute’s defense…It is a truly indefensible position. This is just partisan hardball.” [New York Times, 5/1/19]