With the presidential election just months away, Trump had the Justice Department ask the Supreme Court on Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the health care law that enables millions of Americans to get insurance coverage and that remains in effect despite the pending legal challenge.
Neither Trump nor the GOP have offered up an alternative. And this is all taking place in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and with millions losing income during economic shutdowns.
Many GOP politicians are dismayed by the move, which seems to play into Biden’s hand going into the election.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized the administration after the late-night filing.
“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” she said in a statement Thursday.
Earlier Thursday, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, lashed out at President Donald Trump for continuing to support upending the law.
“Today, his Administration is filing a brief with the Supreme Court to rip health care coverage away from 23 million Americans — including 224,000 Wisconsinites,” Biden said, remarking on Trump’s visit to the Badger State Thursday. “Every American deserves the peace of mind that comes (with) access to affordable, high-quality health care.”
Biden, who is planning to make a new health care push on protecting the Affordable Care Act this week, was vice president when former President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in 2010. He is calling for strengthening it by making federal premium subsides more generous and allowing more people to qualify for subsidies. He would also add a government-run public option and would lower the Medicare eligibility age to 60.
About 11.4 million people signed up for 2020 Obamacare polices on the exchanges, while nearly 12.7 million low-income adults have gained coverage through Medicaid expansion. It allows young adults up to age 26 to stay on their parents’ policies and bans insurers from denying coverage to those who buy their own policies or charging them more because of pre-existing conditions. And it lets many people obtain free birth control, annual physicals, mammograms and cholesterol tests.
The filings come a day after House Democrats unveiled a bill to enhance the landmark law. Similar to Biden’s plan, it would make Obamacare policies more affordable by bolstering federal premium subsidies — limiting monthly premiums to 8.5% of enrollees’ income and allowing more middle class Americans to receive the subsidies by eliminating the income cap of four times the poverty level. It also tries to entice more states to expand Medicaid to low-income adults by covering 100% of the cost for the first three years.