Trump has no replacement for Obamacare that he wants SCOTUS to nix

  • The Trump administration is supporting a lawsuit asking the courts to throw out the Affordable Care Act, even though the White House has no concrete replacement for the Obama-era healthcare law.
  • President Donald Trump has repeatedly promised a backup plan but hasn’t unveiled a detailed proposal. His domestic policy chief, Brooke Rollins, said the White House was still working on one.
  • “Obviously if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, we will be ready,” Rollins told Insider in an exclusive interview last week. “If it is not, then we’re going to continue to improve the current system.”
  • The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments next month in the ACA case that was initiated by the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation, which Rollins once oversaw.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The White House’s policy shop lacks a clear replacement plan for the Affordable Care Act if the Supreme Court throws out the healthcare law. 

Brooke Rollins, the acting director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House, told Insider in an exclusive interview last week that a backup plan was “being worked on” but indicated that administration officials hadn’t settled on a solution.

“Obviously if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, we will be ready,” she said. “If it is not, then we’re going to continue to improve the current system.” 

The Supreme Court will hear a challenge to the ACA a week after the November 3 election. The Trump administration argues the entire law, which was signed by President Barack Obama, should be wiped out, which would threaten coverage for 20 million people. 

Democrats, including Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, have focused on raising alarm about the lawsuit in the weeks leading up to the election and as Senate Republicans rush to confirm the third new conservative Supreme Court justice of the Trump era.

They say President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, could be the deciding vote to strike down the law, even as the US continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Senate Republicans opened confirmation hearings Monday on Barrett’s nomination and want to hold a final floor vote on her lifetime appointment before Election Day.

Rollins told Insider that striking down the law would be “the right way” to go. “We not only think it was unconstitutional but that it hasn’t worked as promised,” she said.

Read more: EXCLUSIVE: Trump’s White House policy chief spells out a 2nd-term agenda, including what would happen to taxes, drug prices, and manufacturing jobs

‘All to be worked out’ 

Before she joined the White House Office of American Innovation in 2018, Rollins was the president and CEO of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a powerful conservative organization that was behind the ACA lawsuit that’s now before the Supreme Court. The think tank has pushed for states to take the lead in setting up their own healthcare plans.

Rollins has overseen the Domestic Policy Council since May. The office operates largely behind the scenes but

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Why a Ginsburg replacement is ‘worth the White House and Senate’

WASHINGTON — Even before the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday night, November’s presidential election was shaping up to be the most consequential in modern American history. President Trump said so himself, as did his Democratic rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. A procession of crises — the coronavirus pandemic, protests and urban unrest, rampant wildfires — only heightened the sense that, come Nov. 3, voters would choose not merely a president but a direction for the country.

Then, on Friday, came the announcement that Bader Ginsburg had died at the age of 87 of pancreatic cancer. It was her fourth battle with cancer, one she had only recently been optimistic she would win. Aware, as she was dying, that her passing would almost certainly become a political fight, Ginsburg told her granddaughter, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.”

But only someone utterly unfamiliar with how Washington works could believe that wish would be heeded.

“I think a 6-3 court is worth the White House and Senate,” one communications director for a Republican member of the Senate told Yahoo News. “The pro-life community has been waiting on this forever. There has to be a vote.”

In the immediate aftermath of the announcement, tributes filled social media and cable news. These invariably noted that Ginsburg was a supremely gifted jurist. And as only the second woman to ever don the robes of a Supreme Court justice, she inspired a generation of female jurists. There are now more women than men attending law school, thanks in part to Ginsburg and pioneering women like her. 

But those tributes obscure intense maneuvering by both Democrats and Republicans seeking to gain advantage on a narrowly divided court. Now in control of both the White House and Senate, Republicans want badly to nominate and confirm a justice within a matter of weeks. That justice, the third appointed by President Trump, would tip the court decisively to the right, softening conservatives’ disappointment with Chief Justice John Roberts, who has generally driven in the center lane.

Democrats have one goal, and one goal only: to honor Ginsburg’s dying wish and keep her seat open until January 20, 2021. On that day, they believe, Biden will be sworn in as the next president of the United States. But even getting to Election Day without a new Supreme Court nominee will be a challenge. Then will come the “lame duck” congressional session of November, December and January, with its own weird political calculus. And the entire battle will take place in the middle of a pandemic, as Congress also fiercely debates a new coronavirus relief package. 

“This will be a campaign of relentless organizing until the next president is in office,” Ben Jealous, president of the progressive group People for the American Way told Yahoo News. “We are building a coalition like never before.”

In other words, a heated election has been doused

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