The Trump Administration Just Asked the Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare During a Pandemic

The move could strip 23 million Americans of health insurance at the time they need it most.

Nancy Kaszerman/Zuma

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

The Trump administration filed a brief Thursday encouraging the Supreme Court to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, threatening to leave 23 million Americans uninsured amid a pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 people in the United States.

The briefing, filed by Solicitor General Noel Francisco, reaffirms the government’s position that the lack of an individual mandate renders the legislation known as Obamacare unconstitutional. Last year, a federal appeals court found the individual mandate—which requires uninsured Americans to pay a yearly penalty—unconstitutional, because it could no longer be considered a tax after it was set to zero by the GOP’s 2017 tax bill. In March, the Supreme Court announced that it would hear the case, brought by Republican attorneys general, to determine whether the invalidation of the individual mandate would nullify the rest of the health care law.

The Supreme Court is likely to hear oral arguments in the case in the fall, and the case could weigh heavily in the minds of voters headed to the polls to vote for president in November.

In a statement released late Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the Trump administration’s stance “an act of unfathomable cruelty” that threatens to strip coverage for preexisting conditions away from the 130 million Americans who rely on it. Meanwhile, more than one million Americans have filed for unemployment each week for the past 14 weeks, leaving many without employer-based coverage, instead relying on the Affordable Care Act for insurance. As Republican strategist Joel White told Yahoo News, “Politically, it’s pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic.” 

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

WE'RE TAKING A SHORT BREAK…

from the big banner at the top of our pages asking for the donations that make Mother Jones' nonprofit journalism possible. But we still have upwards of $300,000 to raise by June 30, whether we get there is going to come down to the wire, and we can't afford to come up short.

If you value the reporting you get from Mother Jones and you can right now, please join your fellow readers who pitch in from time to time to keep our democracy-advancing, justice-seeking journalism charging hard (and to help us avoid a real budget crunch as June 30 approaches and our fiscal year ends).

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate