CNN’s Kate Bolduan admitted she had no idea how to interpret the Trump Administration’s announcement that it would try to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety — after previous statements that they wanted to preserve protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
“This is a remarkable shift for the Trump administration,” said CNN justice correspondent Jessica Schneider, noting the timing was six weeks after Bill Barr was appointed attorney general.
“Under Jeff Sessions, the previous AG, the administration actually argued that some parts of the Affordable Care Act were unconstitutional,” she said, referring to protections for those with preexisting conditions. “They did stand by other parts of the ACA.”
Now, Schneider added, the White House was now “latching on completely” to a Texas district court ruling that held that the entire ACA was void, and taking their case to the Fifth Circuit, “the most conservative circuit court in the country.”
“I hope everyone feels the same way I do,” said Bolduan. “Confused on what the president’s position is on even the most basic provisions in the health care law.” She turned to CNN legal analyst Shan Wu for clarification.
“It is really unusual and frankly it seems very difficult to justify for the Department of Justice. What’s changed?” said an equally perplexed Wu. “The only answer seems to be you have a new attorney general and he seems to be a big supporter of the administration’s agenda.” Wu said “it would be embarrassing” for DOJ lawyers to have to defend such a radical reversal.
“It is a dereliction of their duty to defend the federal laws,” Wu added, saying the Texas decision was “very weak” and likely wouldn’t stand.
“This whole idea that because a single provision might be unconstitutional, the entire law goes, that’s ‘101 Principles of Construction of Laws,'” he said. “It’s a violation of that very simple first year law student understanding of how you construe laws.”
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