The Trump administration filed a brief Thursday night calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act — which allows millions of Americans to get health insurance coverage — just as the nation smashed a record for new COVID-19 cases in a single day.
Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued in a brief that because Congress in 2017 invalidated the law’s individual coverage mandate — by dropping a tax penalty for those without health insurance — the “entire ACA thus must fall.”
The court is scheduled to hear arguments later this year, but a decision might not come until 2021. The move threatens health care coverage for more than 20 million Americans.
Democrats were appalled. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) slammed the action to “rip away” health care protections in the “dead of night” and in the “middle of a pandemic.”
“If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the ACA’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely,” Pelosi said in a statement. “There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.”
Thousands of more Americans have turned to the ACA for health care coverage after losing their jobs amid the pandemic — and COVID-19 cases are surging. Across the nation, 38,115 new infections were reported by state health departments Wednesday. The previous single-day record of 34,203 was set on April 25.
The Trump administration brief was filed in support of a challenge to the ACA by a coalition of Republican governors.
Trump renewed his pledge last month to jettison Obamacare even amid the COVID-19 crisis and despite warnings from aides about angering voters.
As new COVID-19 cases were breaking records and the American death toll was ticking toward 125,000, Trump boasted in a tweet Thursday night about how well the U.S. was doing.
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