Donald Trump has asked the US Supreme Court to quash the Affordable Care Act, which was introduced by his predecessor Barack Obama to provide healthcare coverage to millions of Americans.
Government lawyers are arguing the legislation, dubbed Obamacare and seen as one of the Democrat ex-president’s signature achievements, became invalid when the Republican-led Congress axed parts of it in 2017.
Democrats have accused the administration of waging a “senseless crusade” of “unfathomable cruelty” on healthcare protections just as the US sees an unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases across the US. The country on Thursday recorded its highest one-day rise in Covid-19 infections yet.
Last last night, the Trump administration lodged filings asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act that has provided more than 20 million Americans with health insurance amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Government lawyers submitted the 82-page document arguing that the act – dubbed Obamacare – was unconstitutional after Congress, then under Republican control, eliminated tax penalties for not purchasing health insurance in 2017.
This comes after an estimated 27 million Americans lost their health insurance amid mass unemployment since March, whilst some 487,000 have signed up with HealthCare.gov, which acts as a back-up, since the pandemic started.
What’s more, the administration’s move to quash Obamacare comes as coronavirus is surging across the US. Yesterday’s rise in Covid-19 infections was the biggest one-day increase yet.
Donald Trump’s decision to wage war on healthcare coverage during a public health crisis has gone down about as well as you’d expect with Democrats.
Trump’s Democrat presidential rival Joe Biden said the administration’s attempt to have the Supreme Court quash Obamacare was “cruel, it’s heartless, it’s callous”.
In a speech in the must-win election battleground of Pennsylvania, Biden said the move would force families to “live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus and his heartless crusade to take healthcare protections away”.
Addressing November’s election, he added: “If Donald Trump refuses to end his senseless crusade against health coverage, I look forward to ending it for him.”
Democratic House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Republican 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 added: “If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the ACA’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely. There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.”
And it is not just Democrats criticising the move. Joel White, a Republican strategist, told The New York Times he considered it “pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic”.