AP NEWS

Chuck Schumer: Obamacare attack bigger deal than Mueller findings

March 26, 2019

The Justice Department’s refusal to defend any part of Obamacare is more important than its letter outlining the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Tuesday, as Democrats seek to pivot to kitchen-table issues.

The New Yorker wasn’t coy in arguing Democrats will grab the upper political hand through the health care decision, outlined by administration attorneys in a letter to a federal appeals court late Monday.

The letter marked an escalation of the Obamacare wars, roughly 24 hours after a summary from Attorney General William P. Barr cleared President Trump of colluding with Russia during the 2016 campaign, devastating Democrats looking to tar or impeach the president.

“This move by the Trump administration to take away health care will prove far more detrimental to the administration and the Republican Party than any gains they might have made by the issuance of Mr. Barr’s letter,” Mr. Schumer said. “Mark my words. It’s far more important to the American people.”

Democrats say they still want to see the Mueller report, though they’re straining to pivot to the type of bread-and-butter issues that fueled their romp to the House majority and state-level wins in November’s elections.

Last year’s campaign centered on health care and the state-driven lawsuit against Obamacare that’s simmering in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

A Texas judge sided with GOP plaintiffs in December, saying Congress’ decision to gut the “individual mandate” to hold insurance invalidated the entire law.

The administration said Monday it won’t fight to overturn any part of that decision, meaning it sees the entire law as fatally flawed, instead of the consumer protections it previously targeted.

The Trump administration and Republicans say there is a better way to insure Americans, such as block grants that allow states to use federal health dollars as they see fit.

Democrats say Republicans have been unable to pass a replacement to Obamacare, so their latest moves in court imperil coverage that millions of Americans gained through 2010 law including its vast expansion of Medicaid in dozens of states.

“The Trump position ties a two-year anchor around the neck of every Republican,” Mr. Schumer said. “Yet again, they will be forced to defend the indefensible.”