Law & the Courts

Trump Admin. Asks Supreme Court to Repeal Obamacare

The Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., June 25, 2018. (Toya Sarno Jordan/Reuters)

The Trump administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Thursday night to request the repeal of the Affordable Care Act of 2017.

The brief argues that because the Republican-controlled Congress of 2017 struck down the law’s individual mandate, which imposes a tax on those who do not purchase insurance, the rest of the A.C.A. is by extension unconstitutional. The law’s other two key provisions are an employer mandate for businesses with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance, and a federal subsidy for Medicaid.

“Nothing the 2017 Congress did demonstrates it would have intended the rest of the A.C.A. to continue to operate in the absence of these three integral provisions,” Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco wrote in the brief, joined by Republican officials in 18 states. “The entire A.C.A. thus must fall with the individual mandate.”

The push to repeal the A.C.A. faces skepticism from some Republicans, with no definitive proposal to replace the law.

“Politically, it’s pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic,” Joel White, a Republican strategist specializing in health policy, told the New York Times. “We need quick solutions here; we need stuff that we can do tomorrow, because our countrymen are hurting.”

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton contended in a statement, “Obamacare has failed, and the sooner it is invalidated, the sooner each state can decide what type of health care system will best provide for those with preexisting conditions, which is the way the Founders intended.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) criticized the attempt to overturn the health care law.

“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” Pelosi said in a statement. “If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the A.C.A.’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely.”

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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