The Trump administration on Thursday evening urged the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
According to Government lawyers the act became invalid when the previous Republican-led Congress axed parts of it.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden blasted the move, saying President Trump had put millions of lives at risk during the coronavirus pandemic.
“If Donald Trump refuses to end his senseless crusade against health coverage, I look forward to ending it for him” he said after previously claiming that over one third of the country had died from the virus.
BBC reports: Health care will be a key battleground in the November presidential election.
Some 20 million Americans could lose their health coverage if the court overturns the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was introduced by Donald Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama.
The act’s popular provisions include banning insurers from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions and allowing children to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26. Millions of low-income Americans were able to obtain insurance due to the act.
Mr Trump says the scheme costs too much and has promised a different plan to replace it, preserving some popular elements of the existing law but covering fewer people.
Under the act, millions of people in the United States must purchase health insurance or face a tax penalty.
But in 2017, Congress removed a key plank of the policy, eliminating the federal fine for those who did not sign up, known as the “individual mandate”.
In its filing to the Supreme Court late on Thursday, the justice department argued “the individual mandate is not severable from the rest of the act”.
As a result, it said, “the mandate is now unconstitutional as a result of Congress’s elimination… of the penalty for non-compliance”.
Mr Trump cannot rely on Congress to complete the dismantling of Obamacare because the Democrats took control of the lower house in 2019.