Barr Vows to Push Overturning of Obamacare, Despite Virus

May 8, 2020, 12:56 AM

Attorney General William Barr said the Justice Department would continue its efforts to invalidate Obamacare even as millions of Americans have lost their health insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Barr, in an interview with CBS News on Thursday, said the department would ask the Supreme Court to overturn the Affordable Care Act when it takes up a politically-charged challenge in its new term that begins in October.

“We had an opportunity, all the stakeholders in the administration, to discuss this, and the Department is going to be taking the position as the president states,” Barr said.

He was asked if that could mean depriving even more people of health coverage during a health and economic crisis.

“The president’s made clear that he strongly supports coverage of preexisting conditions,” Barr replied. “And there will be coverage of preexisting conditions. And, you know, he expects to fix and replace Obamacare with a better health care system.”

But the administration has not advanced a replacement should Obamacare be thrown out.

Read More: Roberts Questions Trump’s Curbs to Obamacare Birth-Control Rule

During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump vowed to repeal the Affordable Care act. After legislation to do just that failed in the Senate, the administration has tried to diminish it while also endorsing legal challenges.

Late in 2018, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth agreed with a coalition of Republican states led by Texas that the Affordable Care Act, the health-care overhaul by President Barack Obama, had to be eviscerated after Congress last year zeroed out a key provision -- the tax penalty for not complying with the requirement to buy insurance.

Some Democrats and some legal scholars ridiculed the ruling, but the Supreme Court agreed to rule on the question.

To contact the reporters on this story:
Chris Strohm in Washington at cstrohm1@bloomberg.net;
John Harney in Washington at jharney2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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