The Trump administration is expected to file a legal report Thursday urging the Supreme Court to dismantle ObamaCare, even as coronavirus cases escalate across the US. USA And rising unemployment forces millions of employer-based health plans.
The political terrain under ObamaCare’s latest dispute to reach the superior court has changed rapidly: when judges agreed in early March to take on the Republican-led challenge, the country enjoyed historically low unemployment figures and recorded less than two dozens of cases of coronavirus.
Since then, more than 2.3 million in the United States have been infected, unemployment has reached its highest point since the Great Depression, and an estimated 27 million have lost job-based health coverage.
The stakes for the Republican Party have also increased as the pandemic has claimed more than 120,000 lives in the United States. USA And medical care has become even more electorally important. Polls now show President TrumpDonald John Trump: Trump rally triggers quarantine of dozens of Republican Secret Service agents: Trump needs new plan Trump faces ObamaCare court deadline as political terrain changes MORE Following the presidential race and suggesting that Republicans, some of whom have retracted their criticism of ObamaCare in the midst of the health crisis, are at risk of losing the Senate.
“It’s easy to see how Democrats can get past the Republican Party message: Present the coronavirus statistics and say that President Trump and the blank Republican candidate want to take your medical care away,” said Republican strategist Doug Heye. “It is an argument that Democrats have been making for the past three or four election cycles. But when the death count increases every day, it will highlight healthcare as an issue. ”
The Trump administration is expected to present a brief endorsement of Texas and 17 other Republican states in their effort to undo ObamaCare, or the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the signature legislative achievement of former President Obama.
The Justice Department did not respond when asked if it would support the legal challenge before Thursday’s deadline. But the White House has given little reason to doubt its continued support for the Republican Party’s longstanding revocation effort.
“We will stay with the group, with Texas and the group. But just so you understand, ObamaCare is a mess, “Trump told reporters last month in the Oval Office, adding:” What we want to do is end it. “
The ACA is credited with expanding Medicaid for poorer Americans and making private health plans more affordable for low-income families. Health experts say the law has provided crucial support for those who have lost job coverage during the pandemic.
As early as March, vulnerable Senate Republicans evaded questions about whether they supported the lawsuit to repeal the ACA. By May, with the twin health and economic crisis in full swing, some of the law’s strongest critics were reversing course to endorse ObamaCare as a safety net.
Even senator John CornynJohn CornynTrump faces ObamaCare court deadline as political terrain shifts in The Money: Trump and GOP clash over new round of checks | Dow Sinks More Than 700 Points When COVID-19 Wave Shakes Wall Street | Senate Democrats raise concerns about debit cards used for stimulus payments Trump “does not withdraw support” from COVID-19 test sites, says MORE official (R-Texas), who has cast 20 votes to block, repeal, or cancel the law and has been described as the “ObamaCare best seller repeal,” encouraged Americans who recently lost work-based health care to enroll in the program.
The good news is that if you lose coverage provided by your employer, which covers some 180 million Americans, then that is a significant life event, making you eligible to enroll in the Affordable Care Act, and as you know, it has a sliding scale of subsidies of up to 400 percent of poverty, ”Cornyn, who is running for reelection this year, told PBS Austin last month in an interview.
A Cornyn spokesman did not say whether the Texas senator still supported the revocation or the ObamaCare legal challenge.
Texas and other challengers from the red state achieved a legal victory in December when a federal appeals court struck down a central ObamaCare principle. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the so-called individual mandate of the law, which requires people to purchase health insurance, was unconstitutional.
The Justice Department had urged the court to go even further. The agency, along with 18 Republican state opponents, argued that if the insurance’s mandate violates the Constitution, then the entire law should be repealed.
The Justice Department filing with the Supreme Court before Thursday is expected to ask judges to invalidate ObamaCare wholesale. Meanwhile, the House, led by Democrats, joined California and other blue states to ask judges to reverse the lower court and preserve the law.
The Supreme Court has not yet scheduled the arguments in the case, which will be heard during the next period that begins in October. The ObamaCare fate dispute may be discussed before Election Day, though a decision will come later.
Lindsay Wiley, a professor of law at American University and an expert in public health law, said the country is likely still recovering from the long-term effects of the coronavirus pandemic at the time. She added that repealing the law under such a scenario, which would reduce Americans’ access to health care, “would be devastating to public health.”
“We know that access to testing and treatment saves lives, not only for individual patients but also to delay the spread of the infection to others,” he said. “If people don’t have access to care, they are less likely to be tested. And if people don’t get tested, they are more likely to unknowingly infect others. ”