A Republican Congress voted in 2016 to repeal Obamacare, Barack Obama’s sweeping, signature law intended to cement his legacy and provide “affordable” health care, although the insurance policies required subsidies to use.
Obama vetoed the bill, naturally. Republican lawmakers wanted to send a message about what they intended to do about Obamacare if they one day had the power.
After Obama signed the bill into law in 2010, a coalition of states sued to stop enforcement. But the “conservative” U.S. Supreme Court allowed the measure to stand. The court contended that states didn’t have to expand Medicaid but ruled Obamacare a constitutional “tax” and not an unconstitutional mandate. Bottom line: the high court said the government can order individuals to buy health insurance.
Republicans had their chance to repeal Obamacare once Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to win the presidency. But Republicans did not pass a repeal bill while they held both houses and the White House. Congress eventually eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate but kept other provisions intact.
A federal court in Texas ruled last December that Obamacare was unconstitutional, based on the repealed “individual mandate” penalty. This week the U.S. Department of Justice formally agreed with the court.
Trump’s Department of Justice (DOJ) had previously taken the position that it would not defend the law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, though other parts could stay.
But on Monday night the DOJ issued a letter saying its stance had now changed and it agreed with O’Connor’s ruling in its entirety.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” it said, adding: “The United States is not urging that any portion of the district court’s judgment be reversed.”