Trump administration asks SC to axe Obamacare amid pandemic
WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump’s administration petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Obamacare law introduced by his predecessor that added millions to the healthcare safety net, seeking to scrap coverage during the novel coronavirus crisis.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco, in a filing late on Thursday, argued for the administration that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) - one of former Democratic President Barack Obama’s signature achievements - became invalid after the previous, Republican-led Congress axed parts of it.
“No further analysis is necessary; once the individual mandate and the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions are invalidated, the remainder of the ACA cannot survive,” Francisco wrote, adding that lawmakers in 2017 did not show that they intended for the ACA to continue “in the absence of these three integral provisions.”
The move is sure to ignite further political controversy and elevate healthcare as a major election issue. Trump is seeking re-election in November against Obama’s vice president, Joe Biden, who has vowed to protect health insurance coverage for Americans under the law.
The Trump administration’s filing came the same day the United States set a new record for a one-day increase in cases of the fatal and highly contagious coronavirus. The disease has killed thousands of Americans and forced millions to lose their jobs, including any employer-based health benefits they may have had.
Democrats, who had asked the top court separately to declare that ACA did not violate the U.S. Constitution and have proposed to shore up the law’s provisions, blasted the move as cruel and immoral, particularly amid the outbreak.
“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,” Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said. – Reuters