A late-night filing by Solicitor General Noel Francisco would attack the law's individual coverage mandate and two key provisions are invalidated, which means that "the remainder of the ACA should not be allowed to remain in effect."
As of right now, the law has been challenged three times in the Supreme Court. The case pits a coalition of Democratic attorneys general led by California and the House of Representatives, which are defending the law, against the Trump administration and a group of red state attorneys general led by Texas. The issue around the law will be a major point of contention in the upcoming Presidential election.
The heart of the current effort is whether the law's individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional because Congress reduced the penalty for remaining uninsured to zero and, if so, whether that would bring down the entire law. A federal appeals court in December ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional but punted the decision on which, if any, of the law's provisions could be retained back to the district court -- which had previously found the entire law to be invalidated. The administration has usually sided with the Republican attorneys general but recently argued that the entire law should fall but that the ruling should only apply to the 18 states that brought the challenge.
Francisco stated in Thursday's filing, "Nothing the 2017 Congress did demonstrates it would have intended the rest of the ACA to continue to operate in the absence of these three integral provisions."
He said that "the entire ACA thus must fall with the individual mandate, though the scope of relief entered in this case should be limited to provisions shown to injure the plaintiffs."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sharply criticized the administration after the late-night filing.
"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," she said in a statement Thursday. "It was wrong anytime," the California Democrat said of the administration's stance. "Now, it's beyond stupid."
Earlier Thursday, Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, lashed out at President Donald Trump for continuing to support upending the law.
"Today, his Administration is filing a brief with the Supreme Court to rip health care coverage away from 23 million Americans — including 224,000 Wisconsinites," Biden said, remarking on Trump's visit to the Badger State Thursday. "Every American deserves the peace of mind that comes (with) access to affordable, high-quality health care."
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra defended the law at a campaign event for Biden on Wednesday, saying it enabled millions of Americans to gain coverage, particularly Black, Latino and Asian Americans.
"The ACA has been life-changing and now through this pandemic, we can all see the value in having greater access to quality health care at affordable prices," he said, noting that Black Americans are four times more likely to be hospitalized with coronavirus. "Now is not the time to rip away our best tool to address very real and very deadly health disparities in our communities."