• The administration filed a brief late Thursday in a case brought by 17 Republican state attorneys general led by Texas
  • President Trump has been promising a replacement for Obamacare but Congress has failed to approve anything
  • 487,000 Americans have signed up for coverage under the ACA since the coronavirus forced the economy to shut down in mid-March

Democrats Friday attacked the Trump administration for asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Obamacare, an action that could throw 23 million Americans off their health plans amid the coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment.

“If Donald Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19 could become a new preexisting condition,” presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said in prepared remarks Thursday ahead of the filing. “Some survivors will experience lasting health impacts — like lung scarring and heart damage.

“And if Donald Trump prevails in court, insurers would be allowed to strip away coverage or jack up premiums — simply because of their battle with the coronavirus.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Biden, adding there’s “no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ healthcare.”

The pandemic has killed more than 124,000 Americans since mid-March.

The administration late Thursday argued in a brief the decade-old Affordable Care Act needs to be struck down because its core provision – the individual mandate – is unconstitutional, and since the penalties were removed, the law cannot be constitutional because of Congress’ taxing power, the reason it was upheld previously.

The brief was filed in conjunction with a suit brought by a coalition of 18 Republican state attorneys general led by Texas.

President Trump made overturning Obamacare a cornerstone pledge of his 2016 campaign, but in the more than three years he has been in office, Republicans have failed to come up with a replacement plan.

The filing came as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported 487,000 Americans signed up for healthcare coverage after the pandemic forced the nation into economic lockdown, sending millions of Americans to unemployment lines.

The White House denied dismantling the ACA would worsen the pandemic. Spokesman Judd Deere called the law a failure in a statement emailed to the Washington Post and said Americans “deserve for Congress to work on a bipartisan basis with the president to provide quality, affordable care.”

Republican strategist Joel White, however, told the New York Times trying to overturn the law in the midst of a pandemic was “pretty dumb” and likely to cost them come November if the law is overturned.

“Now is not the time to rip away our best tool to address very real and very deadly health disparities in our communities,” California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is leading a coalition defending the law, said in a statement.

Oral arguments were scheduled for next term, but it was unclear whether a decision would be delivered before Election Day.