Health Care

Barr Wants Trump Admin. to Shift Stance on Obamacare ahead of SCOTUS Case: Report

Attorney General William Barr in Washington, D.C. February 6, 2020 (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

Attorney General Bill Barr reportedly tried to convince members of the Trump administration that they should abandon their efforts to have the Supreme Court strike down all of Obamacare ahead of the November election.

Barr told Vice President Mike Pence, White House counsel Pat Cipollone, members of the Domestic Policy Council, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and other officials in a Monday meeting that the administration should change its stance on the case ahead of a Wednesday deadline to alter its challenge for the Supreme Court, according to CNN. The Supreme Court is set to hear the case in the fall.

Barr reportedly argued that advocating for a complete repudiation of Obamacare would hurt Trump’s reelection prospects, but a verdict was not reached in the meeting and it remains unclear whether the administration will alter its case.

In 2019, Barr expanded a suit originally filed by Republican-led states to argue that the entire law should be found unconstitutional; but he now favors preserving aspects of the law. After the GOP-led Congress effectively eliminated the individual mandate, which formerly penalized Americans who chose to go uninsured, Texas and 17 other states sued in 2017 over the legality of the statute.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 December vote that the individual mandate was unconstitutional, and kicked rest of the case back down to Texas district judge Reed O’Connor. But the Supreme Court intervened after Democratic states and the House, which are leading the defense of the 2010 healthcare statute, requested a fast-tracked decision from the Court. While the Supreme Court decided against making a ruling by June, the decision to hear the case on a regular track is still unusual, as it has yet to be fully considered by O’Conner.

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