Former President Barack Obama is never one to miss an opportunity to exploit a tragedy to promote himself.
And the streak continued this when the former president used the coronavirus crisis to defend the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”
“It’s still under political attack right when we need care the most,” Obama wrote on Twitter, as the coronavirus crisis continues.
Obama celebrated the tenth anniversary of his signature ACA bill, also known as Obamacare, sharing a video recalling the moment it passed in Congress.
“We have to protect it, build on it, until we cover everyone,” Obama wrote.
Ten years ago today, I signed the Affordable Care Act into law. It protected preexisting conditions, cut the uninsured rate in half, and lots more. But it's still under political attack right when we need care the most. We have to protect it, build on it, until we cover everyone. pic.twitter.com/zz2v3DzMgq
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 23, 2020
A Texas lawsuit challenging Obamacare is currently slated to go to the Supreme Court with a ruling expected in 2021.
President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans killed the Obamacare individual mandate requirement for health insurance in 2017.
Texas sued the federal government in February 2018, taking aim at the individual mandate — a critical provision of the sprawling law aimed at getting more people covered by penalizing those who chose to remain uninsured. In a 2012 case, the Supreme Court ruled that the mandate was constitutional because it could be interpreted as a tax, which Congress has clear power to levy.
Leading a coalition of 20 Republican states, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that after the individual mandate’s penalty was zeroed out in a Republican tax bill, the mandate could no longer be interpreted as a tax and must therefore fall as unconstitutional. More controversially, Paxton’s coalition argued that with the individual mandate, the rest of the law must fall, a “severability” argument that has proved critical to the litigation.
The Trump administration, in an unusual move, declined to defend the law and instead sided with Paxton, leaving the defense of the law to a counter-coalition of Democratic states led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
Trump was asked about the Supreme Court case and Obamacare in a press briefing on Sunday.
“What we want to do is get rid of the bad health care and put in great health care,” Trump replied.
He reassured Americans that he and Republicans would protect the provision to protect people with preexisting conditions.
“We will always — I will say this, I can make this commitment to you: The Republican Party is fully backing preexisting conditions,” he said.
As part of the GOP tax reform plan, the mandate forcing individuals to obtain health insurance or suffer a penalty was scrapped.
The question is now whether the rest of the law can be upheld without the mandate (i.e. severability).
The case has been sent back to a district judge who previously found the entire law unconstitutional.
Democrat-run states tried to force Obamacare through the courts by getting the Supreme Court to uphold the individual mandate.
But the Supreme Court denied a motion to speed up the trial and will likely deliver a final ruling after the election in November.
But the issue here is that Obam is trying to exploit the coronavirus to push what he believes to be his biggest accomplishment.
Obama has a long history of trying to pull stunts for attention.