A senior official at the Department of Justice (DOJ) has left their post after President Trump promised to strike down the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
Joel McElvain, submitted his resignation letter on Friday, just one day after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would argue for the removal of the consumer protection that has saved the lives of countless Americans since it was enacted. Sessions plans to argue that the pre-existing conditions requirement is unconstitutional.
McElvain is a longtime employee of the DOJ, having spent the previous 20 years with the agency.
The DOJ’s announcement broke from decades of precedent in which the agency has attempted to uphold existing federal law. Sessions said the DOJ was moving forward with Trump’s explicit approval for their fight.
Coworkers of McElvain told the Washington Post his resignation was a “gut punch” and a “big blow to the morale” of the agency.
“It’s a lot of institutional knowledge and a great deal of experience walking out the door,” a former DOJ official told the Post.
The DOJ decided to fight the pre-existing conditions clause at the request of 20 Republican-led states. They argue the rule is unconstitutional because it was struck down by Republicans in Congress when first announced.
If the lawsuit is successful it could affect upward of 52 million American adults under the age of 65.
Republicans, thus far, have not spoken again about Trump’s comments that issues as simple as pregnancy and acne can price many Americans out of the medical insurance market, leaving them stranded with no insurance in case of emergencies.