Returning to one of the major themes of his 2016 campaign for the White House, President Donald Trump on Tuesday declared his party will become known as “the Party of Healthcare.”
Trump’s comments came a day after the Justice Department issued a filing in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that supported a federal judge’s ruling that Obamacare should be totally eliminated.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the filing read.
The filing was significant because the December ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas found that the individual mandate portion of Obamacare was unconstitutional and that the rest of the law was also void.
His ruling is currently under appeal.
In an early morning post on Twitter, Trump pivoted from discussing the conclusions of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which found no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
“The Republican Party will become ‘The Party of Healthcare!'” Trump tweeted.
The Republican Party will become “The Party of Healthcare!”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 26, 2019
Later, at a Senate Republican policy lunch, Trump was asked about Obamacare according to a White House media pool report.
“Your administration is making very clear that you think the Affordable Care Act is invalid and should be struck down. What is your message to Americans who may be concerned about their health care?” a reporter asked Trump.
“Let me tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care. You watch,” Trump replied.
Reporter: Your administration is making very clear that you think the ACA is invalid..What’s your message to Americans?
Trump: Let me just tell you exactly what my message is: The Republican Party will soon be known as the “Party of Healthcare” https://t.co/dP8FFO5uAn pic.twitter.com/Vd1loglzqz
— POLITICO (@politico) March 26, 2019
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement attacking the administration’s action on Obamacare, formally known as the Affordable Care Act.
“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’ health care,” her statement said.
The Justice Department had little to say in elaborating on its terse memo, which represented a shift in the administration’s position. It originally had sought only a partial overturn of the health care law, Fox News reported.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal,” Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said in a statement, The Washington Post reported.
Trump had foreshadowed the Justice Department’s position in part of his March 2 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“(W)e got rid of the individual mandate, which was a big deal. Which should lead to the ending of the disaster known as Obamacare. It should. The great state of Texas has a case, and it was literally based on the individual mandate. Now that it’s gone, I don’t know how they rule against it. Now we’ll have to find out,” Trump said then.
“But that’ll soon be up in the Supreme Court of the United States, I hope. And we’re going to see what happens. And then we’re going to get together with the Democrats and come up with really great health care, OK? Really great health care,” he said.
Although the Justice Department usually defends the nation’s laws, the Trump administration is not defending Obamacare. Instead, a coalition of Democratic-controlled states is supporting the signature achievement of former President Barack Obama.
“This lawsuit is as dangerous as it is reckless. It threatens the health care of tens of millions of Americans across the country — from California to Kentucky and all the way to Maine,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said, according to CNN.
“The Affordable Care Act is an integral part of our health care system. … Because no American should fear losing health care, we will defend the ACA every step of the way,” he said.
As a presidential candidate, Trump promised to repeal and replace Obamacare.
Although one version of a health care bill passed the House, it failed in the Senate when the late Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, voted against the proposal.
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