Trump DOJ Wants to Delay Obamacare Ruling

Trump DOJ Wants to Delay Obamacare Ruling January 13, 2020

I’ve written several times about the 5th Circuit case where Republican Attorneys General — and Trump — are trying to get Obamacare declared unconstitutional. Those defending the law have asked the Supreme Court to expedite the appeal and rule as soon as possible, but Trump is now arguing that it should wait until after the election.

The Trump administration came into office with its top legislative priority clear: Repeal the Affordable Care Act. It failed. Then, when a group of Republican states tried to throw out Obamacare through a lawsuit, the administration agreed that a key part of the law was unconstitutional.

But now that defenders of the law have asked the Supreme Court to settle the case quickly, the president’s lawyers say they are in no particular hurry. The case, which seeks to invalidate the entire health care law, can wait for the lower courts to consider certain questions more carefully, they said in a filing to the Supreme Court on Friday. There is no “present, real-world emergency,” the brief says, that would require the court to rush the case’s progress.

The case argues that changes made to the Affordable Care Act in 2017 make its requirement that most Americans obtain health insurance unconstitutional — and that the provision is so essential to the health care law that the rest of it should be invalidated as well.

The case could have major political implications because the results sought by the Republican states and the Trump administration would cause substantial disruptions. According to estimates from the Urban Institute, around 20 million more Americans would become uninsured because of the elimination of the law’s coverage expansions and protections for Americans with pre-existing health conditions.

It’s not hard to understand why they don’t want a quick ruling. Either outcome hurts them politically. If they lose and the law is upheld, they don’t get the result they want. And if they win, millions of Americans lose their health insurance and they have no plan whatsoever for a better system. That will hand the Democrats a powerful line of attack on him because voters strongly favor keeping Obamacare. It’s a lose-lose for the election, so they want to hold off a ruling until afterward.

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