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'Policy Arson': Bill Barr's DoJ Will Fight To Abolish All Of Obamacare

In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with the wacky ruling of a Texas federal judge that invalidated the ACA.

The big news this morning is, Bill Barr's DoJ is now trying to torch the ACA.

"Bill Barr had a busy time in 48 hours. He's written this four-page memo. On the other hand, his Justice Department has moved basically to strike down Obamacare in its entirety. Signing on and making clear that they approve of this Texas federal district judge who said Obamacare needs to go away immediately. That's a big step," New Day co-host John Berman said.

"This is a big legal change," former federal prosecutor Elie Honig said. It is a change of course within an administration. Look, it is normal when the entire administration changes for DoJ to change the position. Here, we're still in the same administration. The prior position that the Trump DoJ had taken was this one piece may need to come out of the law, but the whole law, the entirety of the ACA can still stand without it. Now the position is, if this piece comes out and it should, it should all collapse. That's an enormous sea change. And I think it's really quite unusual for DoJ."

(Yeah, a lot of that unusual DoJ action going around lately!)

"Here is what Obamacare covers, 52 million people with pre-existing conditions, 27% of non-elderly adults have pre-existing conditions. Can coverage be stripped away from people?" Alysin Camerota said.

"It depends. That's what we're going to find out," said Jennifer Rodgers, another former federal prosecutor.

"One thing interesting to watch is in the course of filing briefs, taking positions, when Jeff Sessions was the attorney general, they took positions, right, they took positions on what was legal, what was illegal, what was supported, what wasn't. Now to say we disagree now, we think these cases don't say what we said they say, that will be hard to do. It will be interesting to see how they try to thread that needle legally in the filings they make now. Now it will be up to the Supreme Court again to sign on the issues of severability."

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"That's a lot of collateral damage particularly when it contradicts the position that Republicans took over and over during the campaign, saying we want to protect pre-existing conditions. This February 5th, state of the union, the president saying loudly, I will protect people with pre-existing conditions. That apparent statement is not operative anymore," John Avlon said.

Then they showed this clip:

We will always protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. We're going to take care of them.

"No. Not if this appeals court in New Orleans sides with the administration, at least not for a time. If they were to strike it down, and the Supreme Court would agree, that's by no means certain, but if that were to happen, there is nothing it replace it with," Berman said.

"That's correct. And look, they have been trying to dismantle Obamacare by administrative action because they failed to do so in the legislature, which the president is sore about and brings up all the time. They have been trying to move the pieces so it all falls apart. This is a big move to go with the Texas court, so the position that came out in December, just getting to it now, but it really is a form of policy arson," Avlon said.

The judge who made the December ruling, Reed O'Connor, is famous for his extreme ideological rulings:

"Judge O'Connor has been the go-to judge for Ken Paxton and Republican attorneys general who want to file ideological suits in any court across the country," Nelson says. "Reed O'Connor is their best shot to get a ruling that they like."

Supreme Court reporter Ian Millhiser called Trump's DoJ "lawless hacks."

An Attorney General who cared about the rule of law would resign if they were asked to do what DOJ did this evening.

— Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser) March 26, 2019

What Barr did on Sunday was unconscionable: a usurpation of Congress' role, and directly contrary to the memo that got him hired.

Moving to eliminate ACA amounts to the nuclear policy equivalent of saying "Hold My Beer" to top that.

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) March 26, 2019

The Trump Administration has gone from asking courts to roll back part of the ACA to asking courts to roll back the entire thing.

Pre-ex protections, tax credits, Medicaid expansion — all would be gone and many millions would lose coverage.

— Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohn) March 26, 2019

In a rational legal world, the genuinely absurd argument the Trump administration is now pushing against the entire ACA would get nowhere. In this world . . . I’m making no bets.

— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) March 26, 2019

If you are wondering what “Trump unleashed” looks like, on day one of his “new start” he sent lawyers to court asking for a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

It’s going to get worse people...

— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) March 26, 2019

You know what to do: Vote for anyone on the ballot with a "D" after their name.

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