The Trump administration is going to court to fight to dismantle the Affordable Care Act entirely.
In a filing with a federal appeals court, President Donald Trump’s Justice Department said it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the Obama-era healthcare law. Previously, the administration said it only wanted to throw out the law’s protections for people with pre-existing medical conditions, but that the rest of the law could stay. That appears to have changed.
As the New York Times reports, the administration sent a letter to the court on Monday that makes it clear Trump wants to have the law thrown out. It’s a dramatic shift from what was promised in the lead-up to the midterm elections, when Trump and the administration repeatedly pledged to protect people with pre-existing medical conditions that make it hard or overwhelmingly expensive to get adequate healthcare coverage.
While most people agree that so-called Obamacare has some problems, overturning the law would have far-reaching consequences–including potentially interrupting coverage for those who buy their health insurance on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges, as well as making healthcare financially impossible for millions of people.
What’s more, the ACA helps senior citizens afford prescriptions, gives many Americans access to free healthcare services like cholesterol tests and mammograms, and allows children to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans until they turn 26. If the Trump administration successfully dismantles the law, millions of lives could be at risk; people will likely have to increasingly turn to platforms like GoFundMe to afford medical necessities like insulin.
“This lawsuit . . . threatens the healthcare of tens of millions of Americans across the country, from California to Kentucky and all the way to Maine,” said California attorney general Xavier Becerra, who has led the fight to preserve the law. “For the last nine years, [the ACA] has ensured that seniors, young adults, women, children, and working families have access to high-quality affordable care. It has prevented insurance companies from discriminating against 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. Because no American should fear losing healthcare, we will defend the ACA every step of the way.”