The Justice Department said in a court filing on Monday that it agreed with a federal judge in Texas who struck down the entire Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional.
The DOJ said that it is “not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed.”
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal,” DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement.
Under former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Trump administration had a different position on this case and the ACA. They said at the time that they supported removing the requirement for covering preexisting conditions, but not getting rid of the law entirely. The stance on preexisting conditions may have hurt Republicans in the midterms, where it was frequently attacked by Democrats in Congressional races.
It was after the administration came out against preexisting condition coverage that District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled in a case about the constitutionality of the individual mandate that the entire law should be struck down. O’Connor later clarified that the law would be upheld during the appeals process.
Despite the unpopularity of taking away people’s healthcare, the DOJ now seems to agree with O’Connor. Democrats, unsurprisingly, are furious about the administration’s anti-ACA turn.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives has moved to protect the ACA from this ruling. Lawyers for the House filed a brief with the appellate court that said that if the ruling is upheld “the consequences will be devastating.”
“While the Trump Administration broadens its monstrous ambitions from destroying protections for pre-existing conditions to tearing down every last benefit and protection the Affordable Care Act provides, Democrats are fiercely defending the law of the land and protecting all Americans’ healthcare,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement.
The case is currently in appeals with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, who are notoriously conservative. The next stop after that will be the Supreme Court, which famously upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare in 2012.