House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blasted the Trump administration's latest attempt to end Obamacare in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic

By Sean Neumann
June 26, 2020 01:25 PM
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From left: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump
Alex Wong/Getty Images; Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Nancy Pelosi did not mince her words about the Trump administration's latest attempt to roll back the Affordable Care Act in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“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," the House Speaker said in a statement late Thursday night.

The Trump administration filed a late-night request to the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking to end the healthcare plan introduced under President Barack Obama's administration.

Known as "Obamacare," the Democrat-backed healthcare plan has been a contentious political issue in the U.S. since before it was signed into law in 2010. Trump, 74, made the removal of Obamacare one of his top political priorities since he set out to become president during the 2016 election. Trump promised again last month to end the ACA, calling it "lousy health care," according to the Washington Post.

Thursday's request was the third time the Trump administration has asked the Supreme Court to end the Affordable Care Act, the Associated Press reports. The two previous attempts failed, and the AP notes that Thursday's request comes the same day the federal government reported that nearly half a million people in the U.S. received health insurance under Obamacare after losing their benefits because of the economic impacts of the ongoing pandemic.

Supreme Court building
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"A global pandemic does not change what Americans know: Obamacare has been an unlawful failure and further illustrates the need to focus on patient care," White House Communications Director Judd Deere said in a statement.

"During this pandemic, President Trump has continued to work to improve healthcare more broadly, including protecting the vulnerable, those with pre-existing conditions, and cutting red tape to allow more choice," Deere, 32, continued.

But Pelosi, a Democrat and one of Trump's most prominent political rivals, warned Thursday that "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," she said.

On Thursday, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight reported that 487,000 people in the U.S. filed for benefits under Obamacare throughout April and May.

The 46-percent increase in new sign-ups over the last two months, compared to the same period in 2019, is likely due to the millions of people who recently lost their jobs during the pandemic, according to the Post. The numbers in that government report, which already show a spike in Obamacare requests, also don't include figures from states that run their own health insurance marketplaces, such as California and New York, the AP reports.

“While the magnitude may be unclear, job losses due to COVID-19 have led to increased enrollments on HealthCare.gov,” the report says.

The Supreme Court case won't be heard until the fall, the AP reports, but Pelosi promised a sooner political response to the latest attempt by the Trump administration to nix Obamacare.

"While President Trump tries to tear away protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Democrats are working to build on the Affordable Care Act to lower health costs and prescription drug prices For The People," she said. "Next week, the House will continue that effort by passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act.”