The Trump administration released a report Thursday night in a highly charged Supreme Court case that has the potential to completely overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as ObamaCare, in the third direct assault on the law that was brought before the court since its enactment in 2010.
The case, California v. Texas is introduced by a group of red states who argue that because Congress removed the financial penalty associated with the individual mandate, the provision in the ACA that requires all Americans to purchase health insurance is no longer an exercise. valid government power to tax and is therefore unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court that reads the mandate as a tax is what saved the law during an earlier challenge, enraging conservatives who thought that the Republican-appointed majority in court would topple the ACA.
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The red states further argue that the individual mandate is not “separable” from the rest of the law, meaning that it was so instrumental to Congress’ plan when it originally passed the legislation that the rest of the law must also be declared invalid if the The Supreme Court rules that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. The Trump administration in its brief supported that position.
“The individual mandate cannot be separated from the rest of the ACA. The findings of Congress embodied in the ACA text clearly indicate that Congress would not have adopted the guaranteed issuance and community rating provisions without the individual mandate requirement to purchase a secure”. The administration argues.
It continues: “This Court recognized the interrelation of these three provisions in [two other cases]. And the 2017 Congressional amendment does not alter the divisibility analysis because it left intact the critical legal findings about the interconnectedness of these provisions, findings that were and remain the functional equivalent of an inseverability clause. “
The Supreme Court will hear this case during its next term, which will begin in October. That means that by this date next year, the ACA law will no longer be the country’s law.
Blue State Support
Because the Trump administration has chosen not to defend the ACA, which is traditionally what the federal government does when states challenge the constitutionality of a federal law, a group of blue states has entered a vacuum to support it. That group is led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who criticized the Trump administration for his presentation late at night in a tweet on Friday morning.
“In the midst of a pandemic, the Trump administrator is fighting to destroy #ACA. Tonight, before #SCOTUS, they showed how far they are willing to go. Millions of people trust the ACA. Our coalition of 20 states + DC has intending to win this, #ProtectOurCare, “he wrote.
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This is the case that alleged Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and other Democrats refer to when they say the Trump administration is trying to take away health care from Americans. In fact, Biden was attacking Trump for supporting the lawsuit at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, just hours before the federal government released the report.
“I think it’s cruel, it’s cruel, callous,” Biden said of Trump’s attempts to dismantle ObamaCare. “It is all because, in my opinion, he cannot bear the thought of leaving one of President Obama’s great achievements standing.”
And he promised that “if Donald Trump refuses to end his pointless crusade against health coverage, I hope to end him.”
Attorney General Departing
Thursday’s report is also one of the closing acts of Attorney General Noel Francisco, who has been the man arguing over many of Trump’s positions before the Supreme Court, before he officially leaves office in early July. Francisco officially announced on June 17 that he would quit his job, saying that “[r]Presenting the United States to the Supreme Court is one of the best jobs in the law and an opportunity for which I am deeply grateful. “
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Although ACA has twice survived the challenges of the Supreme Court before, it is not inconceivable that the 5-4 conservative majority could fail the law this time. The current challenge is on a different topic than previous ones: Congress has meanwhile changed the ACA, specifically regarding the financial sanction of the individual mandate, and a federal court of appeals against the law in a ruling led by the coalition. in blue States that defend it to take the case to the Supreme Court.
More specifically, the red states challenge appears to be directed at Supreme Court President John Roberts, whose decision to read the individual mandate as a tax saved the law in NFIB v. Sebelius, the ACA’s first major challenge, much to the Conservatives’ chagrin. They argue that because there is no longer a financial penalty associated with the individual mandate, it is now impossible to read the provision as a tax.
“The contrary arguments presented by the intervening states and the House are without merit,” the Trump administration’s brief report reads. “His claim that the mandate can still be seen as the predicate of a zero-dollar tax is incorrect. Under the NFIB functional approach, a statute that imposes no fiscal responsibility on anyone cannot be sustained as a tax.”
Paul Steinhauser and Madeleine Rivera of Fox News contributed to this report.