In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with a December ruling by a federal judge in Texas that struck down one of the biggest legislative accomplishments of the Obama administration as unconstitutional.
“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the Monday night letter said.
If ObamaCare is repealed, it would likely leave 32 million people without health insurance by 2026, according to a Congressional Budget Office report from 2017 about the effects of repealing the ACA. Average premiums would also likely spike as a result.
"The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal," Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the Justice Department, said in a statement.
Repealing the ACA has been a longstanding goal of President Trump and Republicans, but they failed to do so in 2017 when the Senate narrowly missed the necessary number of votes.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, slammed the decision in a tweet on Monday night, calling it an “all out war on affordable, dependable health.”
“In the courts, in the Congress, all across America, Democrats will fight relentlessly to #ProtectOurCare,” she wrote.
In December, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth sided with a group of Republicans -- Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spearheaded the lawsuit, alongside 19 states -- who sued to end ObamaCare, arguing that congress had eliminated a key provision in the legislation when it passed the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The tax overhaul repealed the individual mandate, which required Americans to either get health insurance or face a financial penalty.
The Supreme Court originally upheld ObamaCare on the basis that the mandate was somehow a tax. Although Congress does not have the ability to require people to buy health insurance, or a car, or a house, that particular provision was considered part of lawmakers’ taxing authority. But when Congress removed that penalty, they essentially gutted the taxation part of the law. States then argued that the entire basis for the health care act standing as constitutional is gone, meaning the entire law is unconstitutional.
"The Individual Mandate can no longer be fairly read as an exercise of Congress's Tax Power and is still impermissible under the Interstate Commerce Clause — meaning the Individual Mandate is unconstitutional," O'Connor wrote in his ruling, according to Bloomberg. "The Individual Mandate is essential to and inseverable from the remainder of the ACA."