US President Donald Trump’s administration has said that the entire Affordable Care Act or Obamacare should be struck down, in a dramatic reversal.
In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said on Monday night that it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the Obama-era health care law, CNN reported.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal,” said Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the Department.
It’s a major shift for the Justice Department from when Jeff Sessions was attorney general. At the time, the administration argued 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.
After the Justice Department took that position, federal District Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the entire law and the case is currently before a federal appeals court.
Overturning the law would have far-reaching consequences — way beyond disrupting coverage for the millions of people who get their health insurance on the exchanges or through Medicaid expansion.
Obamacare saves senior citizens money on their Medicare coverage and prescription drugs. It lets many Americans obtain free birth control, mammograms and cholesterol tests. It also allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the administration’s stance amounted to “all-out war on the health care of the American people”, CNN reported.
“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,” she said.
Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, became the first 2020 candidate to weigh in on the filing with her criticism on Monday night.
“Trump and his administration are trying to take health care away from tens of millions of Americans – again,” Harris wrote in a tweet.
“We must fight back again with everything we’ve got. And in 2020, we need to elect a president who will make health care a right.”