Cherry blossoms bloom near the Supreme Court. Photo provided by Bill Mason on Unsplash

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The Trump administration filed a court brief late Thursday night calling for the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The same day, a federal report showed nearly half a million Americans signed up for the ACA after losing healthcare coverage amid the coronavirus pandemic. Overturning the law would leave 20 million people without health insurance. Arguments for the case will be heard in the next Supreme Court term, though it may not occur before the November general election.

Arguing on behalf of the president and his administration, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said what is left of the ACA was invalidated after Congress removed the individual mandate in 2017. “Nothing the 2017 Congress did demonstrates it would have intended the rest of the ACA to continue to operate in the absence of these three integral provisions,” Francisco stated in the brief. Republican senators who voted for the removal of the mandate, such as Susan Collins, have said they didn’t think they were endangering the ACA or pre-existing condition coverage by voting for the removal of the individual mandate. Without that change, there would be no current case. The lawsuit calling for the elimination of the ACA, led by Texas, will be heard alongside another case, led by California, which hopes to preserve the law.

Democrats, including House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, called the move “cruel.” Joe Biden claimed President Trump “can’t abide the thought of letting stand one of President [Barack] Obama’s greatest achievements.” House Democrats proposed a bill Wednesday to reinforce the ACA, including boosting subsidies as well as providing permanent funding for Children’s Health Insurance Programs and financial incentives for state Medicare expansion. Additionally, the bill would abolish the administration’s rule that expanded short-term insurance plans.

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down ACA – Becker’s Hospital Review – 6/26/2020
In a brief filed June 25, Solicitor General Noel J. Fancisco argues the ACA’s tax penalty for failing to purchase medical insurance is unconstitutional; therefore, the entire ACA should be invalidated. Mr. Francisco argues that the individual mandate became unconstitutional when Congress eliminated the tax penalty in 2017. 

Trump Admin Calls On SCOTUS To Overturn Affordable Care Act – The Daily Caller – 6/26/2020
Democrats have already pounced on Trump’s late-night filing as a sign of secrecy, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeting that Trump was trying to “rip away” Obamacare “in the dead of night.” If the court decides in Trump’s favor, some 20 million Americans would lose Obamacare coverage, according to CBS News. SCOTUS will not release a ruling until the fall, however.

Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Affordable Care Act – The New York Times – 6/26/2020
In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the administration joined Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate. The administration’s argument, coming in the thick of an election season — as well as a pandemic that has devastated the economy and left millions of unemployed Americans without health coverage — is sure to reignite Washington’s bitter political debate over health care.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Ibrahim on Twitter, 6/26/2020: The Trump administration is urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The late-night filing came on the same day the government reported that close to half a million people who lost their health insurance amid the economic shutdown have gotten ACA coverage.

Tim O’Brien on Twitter, 6/26/2020: Filing a Supreme Court brief late Thursday in a case to be heard around the time of the November election, the Trump administration said “the entire ACA thus must fall” because of a tax law change made by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017.

Weijia Jiang on Twitter, 6/26/2020: The White House says a global pandemic does not change the administration’s view that Obamacare has been an “unlawful failure”. If it’s overturned, 20 million Americans could lose coverage. Our latest

Kamala Harris on Twitter, 6/25/2020: 20M more Americans have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act. 135M people with pre-existing conditions are now protected. 12M seniors now pay lower prescription drug costs. Yet Trump continued today to advance his lawsuit to repeal the ACA. During a pandemic.

Gregg Gonsalves on Twitter, 6/26/2020: 800 of us told @realDonaldTrump that trying to kill the Affordable Care Act in the midst of the #COVID19 pandemic is a deadly mistake. @neeratanden

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