Barr Vows to Push Overturning of Obamacare, Despite Virus

May 8, 2020by Chris Strohm and John Harney, Bloomberg News (TNS)
U.S. Attorney General William Barr delivers remarks during a White House ceremony on September 9, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Win McNamee/Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON — 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 case this October — weeks before the presidential election.

“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.

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, Texas, 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.

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©2020 Bloomberg News

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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