The Trump Justice Department has recently made clear its intentions to challenge the very existence of the Affordable Care Act as opposed to specific portions of the act, as it has done in the past. The Department of Justice released a two-sentence letter to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals stating their intention to support the decision made by a Texas judge to eliminate the ACA in the upcoming appeal to the case. It is likely that this case will go all the way to the Supreme Court, which will be the third time that a challenge to the ACA has been brought to the Supreme Court. In the previous two cases, the court ruled in favor of the ACA, but with the new additions to the court under Trump there may be a different outcome on this time around.
This sudden change in policy by the Trump administration comes just after the release of the Mueller report and has been seen as some as an attempt to shift attention away from the recently released report. Whether or not this sudden change is meant as a diversion, it certainly has the potential to eradicate one of the largest accomplishments of President Obama and the Democratic party. However, that would be one of the least important ramifications if the Department of Justice ultimately finds success in this case. The sudden revocation of the Affordable Care Act would be extremely damaging not only to the insurance sector as a whole but in particular to the individual citizens who benefit from it. Some 22 million Americans at least would be affected. Not to mention those who have jobs related to the Affordable Care Act or that are regulated in some way by the Affordable Care Act. If the ACA were to be eliminated, then the resulting legal and moral conundrum would cripple not only the healthcare industry but many of the industries adjacent to it. The ultimate result of the Department of Justice’s actions is unforeseeable at this time, but it is very unlikely that it will have any kind of positive effect on the ACA or upon the many millions of Americans who depend on it for their healthcare.