The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, has a provision that protects people with preexisting conditions, ensuring they wouldn’t lose their insurance. It is one of the most popular aspects of the law.
Trump has repeatedly said that protections for preexisting conditions will remain despite efforts by his administration to terminate the law.
“Now that the very expensive, unpopular and unfair Individual Mandate provision has been terminated by us, many States & the U.S. are asking the Supreme Court that Obamacare itself be terminated so that it can be replaced with a FAR BETTER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“Obamacare is a joke! Deductible is far too high and the overall cost is ridiculous. My Administration has gone out of its way to manage OC much better than previous, but it is still no good. I will ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS!!!”
On June 25, the administration appealed to the Supreme Court to terminate the ACA, asking justices to strike down the health care regulations.
Two federal courts have ruled that the act’s individual mandate, which required people who didn’t have health insurance to pay a fine, violated the U.S. Constitution. The mandate, the Trump administration is arguing, isn’t severable from the rest of the act.
“The individual mandate cannot be severed from the remainder of the ACA,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote in a new court filing (pdf). “The entire ACA thus must fall with the individual mandate.”
The Department of Justice filed the legal brief in support of states that are seeking to have Obamacare entirely struck down. The states include Texas, Florida, Kansas, South Dakota, and West Virginia.
California, Hawaii, Minnesota, and other states are seeking to have the act upheld.
The ACA “has been life-changing and now through this pandemic, we can all see the value in having greater access to quality healthcare at affordable prices,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, a Democrat, said in a statement.
“Now is not the time to rip away our best tool to address very real and very deadly health disparities in our communities,” he said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the Trump administration’s efforts have no legal justification.
“If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with preexisting conditions will lose the ACA’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely,” she said in a statement.
Trump campaigned on replacing the ACA. The American Health Care Act of 2017 that would have partially repealed the ACA, failed in the Senate.
Zack Stieber contributed to this report.