President Donald Trump’s administration has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also called Obamacare, a law seen as an important legislative achievement of former president Barack Obama, adding millions of Americans to the country’s healthcare safety net.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) became invalid after the previous, Republican-led, U.S. Congress axed parts of it, government advocate Noel Francisco argued in a filing to the court late Thursday.
“Nothing the 2017 Congress did demonstrates it would have intended the rest of the ACA to continue to operate in the absence of these three integral provisions,” Francisco said.
The Trump administration signalled earlier in the day that it would asked the court to declare the ACA illegal, setting up what is likely to be a key political battleground in this year’s presidential election.
Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, earlier described the move as “unfathomable cruelty” amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has hit the United States harder than any other country.
It was the ACA that has prohibited health insurers from denying coverage to Americans with pre-existing health conditions.
Trump has criticized healthcare costs and coverage under Obamacare and has been promising since his 2016 campaign to replace it with a different plan.
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called the bid to overturn the law “cruel, heartless (and) callous.”
Democrats expect to make their promise to defend Obamacare a marquee election-year issue after they used a similar strategy in 2018 to win control of the House of Representatives.