Those hoping to mount a legal fight to save the Affordable Care Act may find that President Donald Trump has already supplied them with valuable ammunition.
While they are biding their time to see what action Trump’s administration ultimately takes regarding the healthcare law, liberal state attorneys general and lawyers told Reuters that the president’s public statements about letting the ACA “explode” could prove useful.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey noted that there is already precedent for using Trump’s words against him, as federal judges cited his comments about Muslims as evidence that his immigration executive orders singled out a specific religious group.
The Trump administration could end up facing lawsuits from left-leaning states that are in the same mold as conservative states’ challenges to the ACA, according to the article. Two conservative lobbyists added that the threat of such suits is complicating the administration’s healthcare plans.
One possible legal strategy, private lawyer Deepak Gupta told the outlet, would be to sue the administration for violating the “take care clause,” which says the president much act in good faith to execute laws enacted by Congress.
“That good faith is legitimately in question," he said.
Trump may have added more fuel to the fire this week after suggesting in an interview that he is avoiding taking a position about funding the ACA’s cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments in a bid to get Democrats to the bargaining table.
“Obamacare is dead next month if it doesn’t get that money,” he said.
Those comments have spurred Democrats to mark the funding of CSRs among their top priorities as they prepare to negotiate an appropriations bill with Republicans, The Washington Post reported.
As a partial government shutdown would result from Congress' failure to agree on a spending measure, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi both want to use their leverage to force the Trump administration to fund CSRs, according to Democratic aides.
Meanwhile, Trump confirmed this week that healthcare reform is still a legislative priority for him, and he still hopes to pass an ACA repeal and replacement bill before tax reform if possible.