Politico reported Wednesday that President Donald Trump is doubling down on his calls for the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA), despite reported warnings from his attorney general that dismantling Obamacare in the midst of a pandemic may have steep political consequences.
A lawsuit from Republican-led states pushing for the justices to repeal the Obama-era measure is moving full steam ahead, with “the White House’s blessing,” according to MSNBC.
“Obamacare is a disaster”
Reports first emerged earlier this week alleging that Attorney General Bill Barr had suggested in a meeting with officials Monday that the White House should back off on its unconditional support of the case against Obamacare, arguing that calling for the health care law’s total repeal in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak “would hurt Trump’s re-election prospects,” according to National Review.
But in remarks to reporters Wednesday, President Trump made clear that his administration is not backing down.
“We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post. The president added that while his administration is “running [the program] great, it’s still lousy health care.”
“Obamacare is a disaster, but we’ve made it barely acceptable,” he concluded.
The future of the ACA
According to Politico, Trump’s Justice Department had until Wednesday to formally “change its position” on the Obamacare case, which the Supreme Court is set to hear later this fall.
The suit alleges that the health care law “was rendered invalid,” Politico reported, after the Republican-led Senate “eliminated its tax penalty for not having health insurance” earlier in Trump’s term.
But while conservatives have long been fighting for the ACA to be thrown out, liberals have contended that the measure’s repeal would cost millions of Americans access to health care. And allowing that to happen in the middle of the coronavirus crisis? Well, it seems Barr doesn’t believe that will bode well for Trump with voters this fall.
As it stands, former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats’ presumptive nominee, is inching ahead of Trump in polls shared by FiveThirtyEight — but six months remain before Americans fill out their ballots. Still, reports suggest that Trump’s response to COVID-19 will be a major part of his re-election campaign — whether it helps or hinders.
Of course, there’s no guarantee the Supreme Court will end up siding with the current administration on Obamacare, anyway. The Supreme Court failed to overturn the ACA in two previous lawsuits urging its repeal, Politico noted.
Only time will tell how this case plays out.