With the Russia probe seemingly in the rearview mirror, President Trump has turned his attention back to dismantling every institution and program that provides any good for the American people — this time, even against the urging of his own party.
The Trump administration has opened a new assault on the Affordable Care Act through the Justice Department with a brief that declares that the administration supports a recent court decision which deems the entire Obamacare law to be unconstitutional.
If the decision goes up to higher courts, the rules preventing insurance companies from extorting patients with pre-existing conditions could be rolled back, sending their healthcare costs skyrocketing.
Trump, having never lacked healthcare in his entire life, is ecstatic at the thought of undoing his hated predecessor’s biggest domestic achievement.
“We are going to be the Republicans, the party of great healthcare. The Democrats, they’ve let you down. They came up with Obamacare, it’s terrible!” said the President to the media. “Obamacare is a disaster, it’s too expensive by far, people can’t afford it … it’s something that we can’t live within this country.”
While it’s true that the Obamacare bill was ultimately an unsatisfactory middle ground between the anarchic hellscape of pre-ACA healthcare in America and the universal healthcare program that the American people deserve, it did give healthcare coverage to 30 million people — and the growing costs of the ACA are largely thanks to the Trump administration’s efforts to undermine it.
After receiving a historic drubbing in the midterm elections following their failed efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republican leaders are mystified as to why the president is attempting to tear open this wound once again, especially since neither Trump nor the Republicans still have any kind of coherent plan to replace the ACA with, ten years later — despite what Trump might say.
TRUMP says the lawsuit against Obamacare is "phase one" and that if SCOTUS rules against the healthcare framework "we will have a plan that is far better than Obamacare"
— Saagar Enjeti (@esaagar) March 27, 2019
Axios reports that House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy called the President and informed him that his newest push against the ACA makes “no sense.” Another top House GOP aide texted Axios to say that “Members feel like [the Mueller report announcement] was great and Trump stepped all over that message with the Obamacare lawsuit announcement.”
Even his own cabinet secretaries are opposed to the move. POLITICO reports that “the Trump administration’s surprising move to invalidate Obamacare on Monday came despite the opposition of two key Cabinet secretaries: Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Attorney General William Barr.”
But Trump has never been too concerned with what the rest of his party wants him to do, as we saw in his repeated attacks on the deceased Republican Senator John McCain and his refusal to give an inch during the devastating month-long government shutdown over his demands for a wall.
7 million Americans have lost their health insurance since Trump took office, and more are bound to do so if he continues on with this needless and nihilistic attack on the Affordable Care Act — and since he’s succeeded in filling our judiciary with young right-wing extremist judges, there’s little we can do to stop him.
But if he does go through with it, the palpable fear from his fellow Republicans is a clear sign that we have a serious leg up when the 2020 election rolls around.
Original reporting by Inae Oh at Mother Jones.