Vice President for Health Policy
In calling for higher courts to uphold U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor’s ruling striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Trump promised to replace the ACA with legislation that supposedly will lower costs while protecting people with pre-existing conditions, although he now says he won’t seek to pass legislation until 2021. Fortunately, O’Connor’s ruling does not alter health care for now; the ACA remains the law of the land as higher courts consider the issue. Moreover, as legal experts have explained, the legal reasoning behind the decision is extraordinarily weak, leading even committed ACA opponents to predict it will be overturned. But regardless of whether the decision is upheld, the Administration has already promoted its ACA replacement – a plan that would have much the same devastating consequences as the court decision itself.
In the President’s 2020 budget, released just last month, the Administration once again called on Congress to enact legislation modeled on the bill that Senators Bill Cassidy, Lindsey Graham, Ron Johnson, and Dean Heller (“Cassidy-Graham”) introduced in 2017. Senate Republicans have also pointed to the Cassidy-Graham bill as the basis for any future Republican health care legislation. Like the Administration’s push for ACA repeal through the courts, that proposal would: