In a federal court case filed by Texas and 19 other states against the ACA, the Justice Department filed a brief on Thursday that dubbed unconstitutional the Obamacare requirement for all Americans to have insurance.
If that argument prevails in the courts, it would render unconstitutional Obamacare provisions that ban insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions - arguably the most popular component of the 2010 health care law.
The shift to health care is a notable strategy by which Democrats are hoping to remind American voters that Republicans are "deliberately sabotaging" the health care system, as Schumer put it in a letter he wrote to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell earlier in the week.
House Republicans said Friday they aren't sweating the Trump administration's refusal to defend Obamacare against a lawsuit that could nix popular health care protections, saying the case is in its infancy and they acquitted themselves by offering an alternative health plan a year ago.
Defenders of Obamacare view this move by the Republicans as just the latest in a plot to undermine the monumental legislation however they can since they lack the necessary votes in Congress to repeal it officially. If you didn't know better, you'd think that today's Republican Party is doing just that on the issue of health care, in the service of exactly the kind of big-government universal program they claim to despise.
"I've long held a position that the federal government should get completely out of the health insurance business", he said.
President Trump has long declared the ACA, also known as Obamacare, to be a "disaster", and the brief filed Thursday night is the latest attempt by his administration to weaken former president Barack Obama's signature health-care law.
On June 7, California and the other states with Democratic attorneys general filed their response to the preliminary injunction motion.
"The DOJ agrees with Texas that the individual mandate is unconstitutional once the tax penalty was zeroed out, and if it is struck down, the guaranteed issue and community ratings provisions go with it", said Jost.
The Department of Justice has said it will not legally defend the ACA's restriction on insurers asking about pre-existing health conditions as a determinant for whether to offer coverage and at what rates, saying it believes the provision is unconstitutional.
Becerra estimated that the states that back the health care law could lose half a trillion dollars in health care funding if the suit is successful.
A Trump administration decision not to defend key parts of the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit seeking to dismantle it could cause chaos and deprive Americans of coverage, local politicians, providers and insurers said on Friday.
Indeed, people who pay the full cost of their individual health plans and aren't eligible for subsidies under the health law have been clamoring for relief from several years of double-digit premium increases. Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute told Politico that the refusal to defend key parts of the ACA shows that the Trump administration is going even further in its battle against the health care law.
If the court agrees with the Justice Department's argument to toss out part of the law that protects individuals with an existing medical condition, that could affect millions of Americans who buy insurance directly from the marketplace. Not only may health insurance continue getting less affordable, they even want to take away the pre-existing conditions protection you now enjoy, all while they're working hard to destabilize the private insurance market.
But the administration disagrees with that position.
"If those go together, they make sense", Showalter said.
The Trump administration argues that because the new tax law eliminates the penalty for not buying insurance, the Supreme Court's previous ruling permitting the mandate as a tax no longer applies.
The Washington Post reported that three career Justice attorneys involved in the case - Joel McElvain, Eric Beckenhauer and Rebecca Kopplin - withdrew before the filing at 6 p.m. Thursday, an unusual time for such an action.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer of NY urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision. But Martin S. Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Obama administration, called the mass withdrawal a likely sign of distress. "Both sides, Democrats and Republicans, are using the people as political pawns". Judge Reed O'Connor was named to the court by President George W. Bush and has ruled against other aspects of the Affordable Care Act. Without it, all of the ACA's regulations should be invalid, they said, citing a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.