With a deadline on Wednesday to make changes to his looming topic, Barr filed his case in a room with Vice President Mike Pence, White House adviser Pat Cipollone, members of the Internal Policy Council, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. and many other officials. The meeting ended without a decision and it was not immediately clear whether any change in the Trump administration’s position will emerge.
Barr and other prominent advisors argued against the stiff position for some time, warning that it could have important political implications if global health care law appears in danger as voters go to the polls in November.
According to four sources familiar with the meeting, Barr claimed he changed the administration’s current position to preserve parts of the law, rather than fully support the lawsuit filed by a group of Republican states. At present, the Trump administration’s position seeks to invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act, signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 and commonly known as Obamacare.
Even before the pandemic, over 11.4 million people signed up to Obamacare’s coverage for 2020 and around 12.5 million were enrolled in the expansion of Medicaid.
Trump’s domestic policy aides resisted any change in the Trump administration’s legal arguments at this point, arguing that the legal stance should go on without change because Republicans have campaigned to repeal Obamacare for a decade. These aides swept away the possibility of new political repercussions and rejected Barr at Monday’s meeting.
The justice department declined to comment.
The division has been a long-lasting battle within the administration, but it has a new sense of urgency because the administration has fallen against a deadline on Wednesday if it wants to change its argument.
The administration currently claims that the individual insurance requirement is unconstitutional and since this mandate is linked to other legal provisions, the entire Affordable Care Act must fall. If the administration is about to give up on this absolute position, it will likely file a filing with the Supreme Court within the next 48 hours, based on the court’s current briefing schedule for the sides of the duel. Otherwise, the administration’s mandate was not due to the high court until June.
Barr has long favored the moderation of the administration’s stance, which has changed several times since the lawsuit started in early 2018. The administration argued that only two key provisions that protect Americans with pre-existing conditions should fall, but the rest of the law may remain. In a dramatic reversal shortly after Barr became attorney general in early 2019, the Justice Department said the entire economic assistance law should be invalidated. Several months later, the administration argued before a federal appellate court that the law should only be respected as it applies to the republican-led coalition of states that brought the challenge.
After a decade, the Affordable Care Act has affected almost every aspect of the healthcare system. He asked all Americans to get coverage and created a market for purchasing insurance. It also expanded Medicaid for poor people and protected diabetics, cancer patients and other people with pre-existing conditions from refusing coverage or increasing premiums.
On the other side are California and other democratically led states and today’s Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives. The Affordable Care Act remained in effect through litigation.
Earlier this year the Supreme Court decided to accept the ACA dispute. The case is likely to be heard in the fall, but a decision would not be expected until 2021 after the presidential election in November.
The case will mark the third time that the Supreme Court has entered into a major ACA dispute. In 2012, the judges confirmed the law, with a 5-4 vote, with the supreme judge John Roberts who cast the final vote with the four liberal judges on the dissent of four conservatives. Roberts based his opinion on Congress’ fiscal power.
This story has been updated to include more background information and reflect that the Justice Department has declined to comment.
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