Does President Trump have a constitutional obligation to uphold the Affordable Care Act? That’s the claim being made by four U.S. cities -- Baltimore, Chicago, Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio – in a lawsuit against the president filed in federal court Thursday.
Trump has “waged a relentless effort to use executive action alone to undermine and, ultimately, eliminate the law,” the lawsuit claims, violating his constitutional duty to ensure that the laws of the nation are faithfully executed.
The suit quotes numerous Trump tweets in which he made his opposition to the Affordable Care Act clear, and “also cites Trump scaling back oversight of insurance issuers, cutting open enrollment in half, urging a federal court to throw out Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions and undermining the individual mandate,” according to Heidi Przybyla of NBC News.
Trump’s actions have reduced enrollment and increased costs, the suit charges, forcing cities to pay more for health care for patients lacking health insurance.
Yale law professor Abbe Gluck told Przybyla that while other presidents have been accused of dragging their feet on enforcing legislation they disagree with, this is an unusual case because Trump has made his intent to sabotage the ACA so clear. “That’s what makes this case novel, first of its kind and really important. No scholar or court has ever said the president can use his discretion to implement a statute to purposely destroy it," Gluck said.
The suit seeks to overturn Trump’s actions against the ACA and require him to take steps to expand enrollment and reduce prices.