President Donald Trump is once again trying to destroy the Affordable Care Act.
In an argument to a federal appeals court on Wednesday, the Trump administration claimed that the signature health care law passed by President Barack Obama is unconstitutional and should be struck down in its entirety. As The New York Times reported, this is a shift from the Trump administration's previous position that certain parts of the law should be allowed to stand and it has "confounded many people in Washington, even within the Republican Party, who came to realize that health insurance and a commitment to protecting the A.C.A. were among the main issues that propelled Democrats to a majority in the House of Representatives last fall."
"The Trump administration chose to abandon ship in defending our national health care law and the hundreds of millions of Americans who depend on it for their medical care," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, said in response to the filing. "Our legal coalition will vigorously defend the law and the Americans President Trump has abandoned."
Even though most experts believe around 21 million people would lose their health insurance if Obamacare is overturned, Trump's acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told ABC News Correspondent Jonathan Karl in March that he did not believe that would be the case.
"Yes and here's why. Let's talk about pre-existing conditions, because it gets a lot of the attention and rightly so. Every single plan that this White House has ever put forward since Donald Trump was elected, covered pre-existing conditions," Mulvaney explained.
Although a Texas judge ruled to overturn the Affordable Care Act in December, the significance of that ruling was mitigated by the fact that the judge was a conservative known for his politically motivated decisions.
"Don't panic," Cristian Farias of The New York Times editorial board wrote at the time. "The ruling, issued late on Friday and only one day before the end of the law’s annual open enrollment period, is not a model of constitutional or statutory analysis. It’s instead a predictable exercise in motivated reasoning — drafted by a jurist with a history of ruling against policies and laws advanced by President Barack Obama."
He added, "The reason the judge, Reed O’Connor, gets these cases isn’t a mystery: Texas and its allied states know the game and shop these lawsuits right into Judge O’Connor’s courtroom."
There are also political reasons why many Republicans don't want the Affordable Care Act to be repealed.
"The fact that they could cause their fellow Republicans harm did not seem to bother them," Gail Wilensky, an economist who worked for President George H. W. Bush, told the Associated Press in December. "The people who raised it are a bunch of guys who don’t have serious election issues, mostly from states where saber-rattling against the ACA is fine. How many elections do you have to get battered before you find another issue?"
As of March, a Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that 50 percent of Americans had a favorable review of the bill, compared to 39 percent who had an unfavorable view of it and 12 percent who are unsure or refused.