Democrats Pivot Hard to Health Care After Trump Moves to Strike Down Affordable Care Act – The New York Times

“I haven’t read through what they — was it last night?” Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Republican leader, said during his weekly news conference dominated by a series of long statements about the report. He added, “I think the president has always been very clear that he wanted to repeal Obamacare, and to put a system in that actually lowers the cost and protects individuals’ pre-existing conditions.”

The Democratic offensive came the morning after the Justice Department asked a federal court to strike down the law in its entirety. The administration had previously said that the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down, but that the rest of the law, including the expansion of Medicaid, should survive.

If the appeals court accepts the Trump administration’s new arguments, millions of people could lose health insurance, including those who gained coverage through the expansion of Medicaid and those who have private coverage subsidized by the federal government.

“The Justice Department is no longer asking for partial invalidation of the Affordable Care Act, but says the whole law should be struck down,” Abbe R. Gluck, a law professor at Yale who has closely followed the litigation, said Monday. “Not just some of the insurance provisions, but all of it, including the Medicaid expansion and hundreds of other reforms. That’s a total bombshell, which could have dire consequences for millions of people.”

In addition to inciting a furor on Capitol Hill, the administration’s new position is also certain to take center stage as an issue in the 2020 elections. Democrats have been saying that Mr. Trump still wants to abolish the law, and they can now point to the Justice Department’s filing to support that contention.

The Justice Department disclosed its new stance in a two-sentence letter to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in New Orleans, and will elaborate on its position in a brief to be filed later.

In the letter, the Justice Department said the court should affirm a judgment issued in December by Judge Reed O’Connor of the Federal District Court in Fort Worth.

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