The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which could cause nearly 20 million Americans to lose their coverage in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and puts those with pre-existing conditions at greater risk.

In a late-night legal brief, the Justice Department argued that Obamacare became unconstitutional after Congress in 2017 eliminated the bill’s associated fines for not having health insurance but maintained its requirement that all Americans have coverage.

“No further analysis is necessary; once the individual mandate and the guaranteed-issue and community-rating provisions are invalidated, the remainder of the ACA cannot survive,” the Justice Department stated in its brief.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) denounced the decision in a statement, calling it “an act of unfathomable cruelty.”


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“President Trump and the Republicans’ campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty,” she said. “If President Trump gets his way, 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions will lose the ACA’s lifesaving protections and 23 million Americans will lose their health coverage entirely. There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.”

The lawsuit, once of President Donald Trump‘s original campaign promises, may add fuel to election efforts of both former Vice President Joe Biden and in swing states where healthcare is a high priority.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Illinois) told Politico that healthcare is one of voters’ top concerns in 42 swing districts the Democratic Party is trying to hold onto, in addition to 45 red districts it’s attempting to flip.

“We can tell you that health care is the number one issue in swing districts all over the country, and that makes us feel pretty good from a political perspective — not only that it’s the number one issue but that Republicans are on the losing end,” she said.

During a campaign event on Thursday, Biden noted that Trump’s decision was poorly timed, as thousands of coronavirus survivors are facing potentially long-term health complications.

“They would live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus, and his heartless crusade to take health care protections away from American families,” Biden said.

Trump has previously said he does not want to do away with federal-backed healthcare, but needed to first eliminate Obamacare to pave the way for a new system, though he has not released any details about what that system would look like.

“What we want to do is terminate it and give health care,” Trump said in the Oval Office last month. “We’ll have great health care, including preexisting conditions.”

The Supreme Court is unlikely to make a decision ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential election, potentially endangering the GOP’s election prospects.


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