Trump Admin Sends Mixed Signals On Scrapping Obamacare
Earlier this month, the Trump administration officially filed a legal brief to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, arguing in favor of a lawsuit that seeks to find the entire Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.
If successful, a decision by the court would render the law, sometimes referred to as Obamacare, invalid.
The decision by President Donald Trump and administration officials to submit a legal brief in favor of scrapping the law in its entirety, which was filed on May 1, was announced in late March, the New York Times reported.
But while the administration is arguing in favor of dumping the complete law, its own Justice Department is also arguing in favor of keeping intact certain anti-fraud protections found within the law as well, per reporting from MarketWatch.
— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) May 6, 2019
The inconsistencies are confusing to some, who wonder if the Trump administration favors keeping other aspects of the law, including protections for pre-existing conditions. Trump has had a mixed record on that issue as well, though in October during the midterm election campaign he said he favored passing legislation that would guarantee those protections stayed in place, according to CNBC.
Confusing the issue even more on the administration’s official position in its recent legal filings are statements by Trump purportedly backing a plan by a Democratic lawmaker to deal with challenges relating to Obamacare’s insurance markets.
“I was kind of stunned,” Washington Sen. Patty Murray, a Democrat, said of the president’s apparent endorsement of her bill. “But I said, look, I am willing to work with anyone.”
When reporters asked the White House if it could clarify its cloudy position, it released a statement on the matter.
“Obamacare remains unconstitutional but people deserve relief from all of its empty promises, so the Trump Administration is working within current law to reduce fraud and lower cost for all Americans,” the statement read, according to reporting from KHQ.
Yet that doesn’t clear everything up, especially from a legal point of view, says retired law professor and legal analyst Timothy Jost. “Somehow they want their cake and to eat it, too,” Jost surmised.
He added that the administration may be hurting its own chances at seeing the law struck down by simultaneously stating its a failure in legal briefs, yet advocating for parts of it to stay in place in regards to actions it has taken or statements the president has made.