The U.S. Department of Justice told a federal appeals court Monday evening that it agrees with a federal judge who struck down the entire Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional.
"The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's judgment should be affirmed", DOJ lawyers wrote to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. That appears to have changed.
Former FBI Director James Comey said he was "confused" by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's decision not to reach a conclusion about whether President Donald Trump's conduct regarding the Russian Federation investigation constituted obstruction of justice, an NBC News report revealed Tuesday night.
Previously, the Trump administration had not gone as far, arguing in a June brief that the penalty for not buying insurance could be distinguished from other provisions of the law, which could still stand.
What's more, the ACA helps senior citizens afford prescriptions, gives many Americans access to free healthcare services like cholesterol tests and mammograms, and allows children to stay on their parents' health insurance plans until they turn 26.
Nearly immediately the decision was appealed by a group of pro-ACA attorneys general led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the case is now at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Timothy Jost, an emeritus professor at the Washington and Lee University law school, called the Justice Department's new position "crazy" and "legally untenable".
Trump swept into office promising to "repeal and replace" the Obama health law, but was unable to do so, even with a Congress fully under Republican control.
U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor ruled in December that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is unconstitutional and that the rest of law is therefore invalid.
It also reached no conclusion on whether Trump obstructed justice.
A group of 17 mostly Democratic-led states including California and NY on Monday argued in court papers that the law was constitutional because the individual mandate is a "lawful choice between buying insurance or doing nothing".
"The administration is choosing to neglect the rule of law and play politics with the health care of tens of millions of Americans", Becerra said in a statement Tuesday.
"Last night, the Department of Justice declared the entire law and all of its vital health care protections must go", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from NY, said in remarks on the Senate Floor on Tuesday.
"Health care was central not only to the campaign but the reason why I got into this race", said Kim, D-3rd Dist. "Health care is such a worry to so many people".