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Trump Administration seeks to let ACA wither and die in the courts

Attorney General William Barr has stated that no one will defend the ACA.

By Solomon Smith, Managing Editor

Photo by Joe Ravi/Wikimedia Commons

After several attempts to deflate or outright remove the Affordable Care Act, more colloquially known as Obamacare, the Trump administration may finally be able to kill it.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr has made it clear that the Trump Administration will not defend the ACA anymore. The decision was quietly issued by Barr’s subordinates through a letter from the Justice Department signed by three members of the Attorney General’s office in March.

“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the letter states. “Because the United States is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed, the government intends to file a brief on the on the appellees’ schedule.”

In refusing to defend the ACA, Barr has also made a decision that is in opposition to the standards of his office; a consensus held by many legal professionals and the traditions of the attorney general’s office itself, according to articles in the National Law Journal, CNN and Slate. It has been widely accepted that the attorney general’s duty is to defend laws that have been passed by Congress.

Since its inception, Republicans have opposed the law, but blowback from constituents — protesting in town halls and public meetings — have forced them to back down.The GOP has attacked the law and lost in the courts over 40 times.

A Texas case currently moving through the courts claims that the ACA is no longer constitutional. In a December 2018 U.S. District Court case, Judge Reed O’Connor struck down the tax mandate and declared the entire law invalid without it. The fight is likely to be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court — with no one to defend the law.

The 2018 midterms were a testament to the importance of healthcare to both parties. It was the number one issue plaguing Republicans, and removing the law could put them in the same precarious position in 2020.

Obamacare mandates that all people be given access to healthcare, even those with pre-existing conditions. Many of these people were denied service when it was at the discretion of the insurance companies — affecting over 50 percent of the population — the number of Americans estimated to have a prior existing condition. Trump’s plan for replacement is kicking the can down the road to 2020.

“The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan,” Trump tweeted. “Vote will be taken right after the [2020 Presidential] Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”

The ACA is in mortal danger and nothing stands on the horizon to replace it in the foreseeable future.


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