NATIONAL NEWS

As COVID-19 Cases Rise, White House Seeks To Scrap Affordable Care Act

Jun 26, 2020, 9:21 AM | Updated: 9:22 am
...

WASHINGTON (AP) — As coronavirus cases rise in more than half of the states, the Trump administration is urging the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

The administration’s high court filing at 10:30 p.m. Thursday came the same day the government reported that close to half a million people who lost their health insurance amid the economic shutdown to slow the spread of COVID-19 have gotten coverage through HealthCare.gov.

The administration’s legal brief makes no mention of the virus.

More than 20 million Americans could lose their health coverage and protections for people with preexisting health conditions also would be put at risk if the court agrees with the administration. Nothing will happen immediately. The case won’t be heard before the fall.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the administration’s latest move in a partisan battle over “Obamacare” that has stretched on for a full decade since the law’s passage in 2010. Pelosi is planning a floor vote early next week on her own bill to expand the ACA, sweetening its health insurance subsidies so more people will be covered.

“There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care,” she said in a statement.

Just as the nation seemed to be getting better control over the virus outbreak, states including Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and Texas are reporting a surge in cases. Overall, more than half the states are seeing case increases and some are tapping the brakes on reopening plans.

Anger over problems with “Obamacare” was once a winning issue for Republicans, helping them gain control of the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. But the politics of the issue flipped after President Donald Trump failed to deliver in 2017 on his vow to “repeal and replace” the health law and provide lower-cost coverage for everybody. Democrats were energized by their successful defense of the ACA, and that contributed to their winning back the House.

In the case before the Supreme Court, Texas and other conservative-led states argue that the ACA was essentially rendered unconstitutional after Congress passed tax legislation in 2017 that eliminated the law’s unpopular fines for not having health insurance, but left in place its requirement that virtually all Americans have coverage.

Trump has put the weight of his administration behind the legal challenge.

If the health insurance requirement is invalidated, “then it necessarily follows that the rest of the ACA must also fall,” Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote Thursday. It’s the third time the court is being asked to undo “Obamacare.” Two previous attempts failed.

At the White House on Friday, there was no turning back.

“A global pandemic does not change what Americans know — Obamacare has been an unlawful failure,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said Friday in a statement. He said it limits choice and “forces Americans to purchase unaffordable plans.”

Other prominent Republicans, including Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have said Congress didn’t intend to bring down the whole law by striking the coverage penalty.

Alexander, who leads the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, has repeatedly said there’s no way Congress would repeal protections for people with preexisting conditions. He says senators intended to repeal the penalty for people who go without coverage, and that’s all.

The Trump administration’s views on what parts of the ACA might be kept or replaced if the law is overturned have shifted over time. But in legal arguments, it has always supported getting rid of “Obamacare” provisions that prohibit insurance companies from discriminating against people on account of their medical history.

Nonetheless, Trump has repeatedly assured Americans that people with preexisting conditions would still be protected. Neither the White House nor congressional Republicans have specified how.

The government report showing rising sign-ups for health coverage under the ACA amid the coronavirus shutdown came from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The figures are partial because they don’t include sign-ups from states that run their own health insurance marketplaces. Major states like California and New York are not counted in the federal statistics.

An estimated 27 million people may have lost job-based coverage due to layoffs. That means they would be eligible for a special sign-up period for subsidized plans under the Obama-era law. Many may also qualify for Medicaid.

Thursday’s report from the government showed that about 487,000 people signed up with HealthCare.gov after losing their workplace insurance this year. That’s an increase of 46% from the same time period last year.

It’s unclear from the government numbers how many of the new enrollees lost their coverage because of layoffs due to the pandemic. CMS also made no estimate of how many people will ultimately seek coverage through the Obama health law as a result of economic shock waves. Generally there’s a 60-day window to apply after losing coverage.

However, the report found a clear connection. “While the magnitude may be unclear, job losses due to COVID-19 have led to increased enrollments on HealthCare.gov,” it said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Legacy Sports USA on October 09, 2...
MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Trump Organization convicted in executive tax dodge scheme

Donald Trump’s company was convicted of tax fraud on Tuesday in a case brought by the Manhattan District Attorney.
15 hours ago
A sign marking the entrance to Hildale in Utah, from Colorado City in Arizona. (FILE)...
Larry D. Curtis

FBI says polygamist leader took 20 wives, many underage, alleges illicit sexual activities

Probable cause documents lay out illicit sexual activities of a small religious group — that included underage girls — under the orders of Samuel Rappylee Bateman, living on the Utah and Arizona border. The documents also detail how girls were helped to run away by Bateman’s adult plural wives after they were removed from family […]
15 hours ago
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 29: In this photo illustration, three screens display the splash page for...
Associated Press

Facebook parent Meta threatens to remove news from platform

Facebook parent Meta Platforms says it will be forced to consider removing news content from its platform if Congress passes legislation that could require social media companies to pay news outlets.
15 hours ago
(File) Front row, left to right: Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Clarence Thom...
JESSICA GRESKO and MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

Justices spar in latest clash of religion and gay rights

The Supreme Court’s conservative majority is sounding sympathetic to a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for gay couples.
15 hours ago
MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 08: Shipping containers are stacked at PortMiami after being offloaded from ...
Chris Isidore, CNN Business

US trade deficit edged up to $78.2 billion in October

The US trade gap edged only slightly higher in October than the month before, to $78.2 billion.
15 hours ago
People visit a makeshift memorial near the Club Q nightclub on November 22, 2022 in Colorado Spring...
Colleen Slevin, Associated Press

Colorado gay club shooting suspect charged with hate crimes

The suspect accused of entering a Colorado Springs gay nightclub and killing five people and wounding 17 others was formally charged with hate crimes as well as murder.
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
As COVID-19 Cases Rise, White House Seeks To Scrap Affordable Care Act