Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tried to stop President Donald Trump from waging another war against the Affordable Care Act this week.
Trump told the GOP caucus that he wants the Republican Party to become the "healthcare party," while at the same time urging the courts to completely unmake the law informally known as Obamacare.
According to Politico, Azar argued against the administration supporting a lawsuit to get a full repeal of the law during a December White House meeting. He cited a lack of an alternative piece of legislation from the GOP, two sources told Politico. Budget director Mick Mulvaney claimed that supporting the "bold stance" would force Congress into repealing and replacing the law. That didn't work out well.
Now, the country is firmly behind the law with 50 percent who support it and only 37 percent against. It matches the meager 37 percent of Americans who think Trump is doing great on health care. While 52 percent disapprove of Trump's work on healthcare.
The White House was quick to dispute the claim, saying all of Trump's cabinet secretaries are firmly behind the president.
“Secretary Azar fully supports the Administration’s litigation position in the ACA case, which bears his name,” HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement. “Any insinuation that Secretary Azar has ‘butted heads’ with Mulvaney on this issue is false.”
Azar joins with Attorney General Bill Barr who wants nothing to do with an unpopular battle that the Justice Department will likely lose in court, Politico said.
“The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care,” Trump told reporters after the caucus meeting. “You watch.”
Meanwhile, the Politico report noted that this is an example of Mulvaney trying to create his own "mini-fiefdom inside West Wing."
"The Obamacare decision was backed by DPC Chief Joe Grogan and acting OMB Chief Russ Vought, both Mulvaney allies, as well as by Mick Mulvaney himself, who pushed Obamacare repeal while in Congress," tweeted Politico's Eliana Johnson. "Mulvaney hasn’t tried to restrict access to Trump but rather added allies inside the WH, accumulating a roster of people who share his views who also now have access to POTUS. Monday’s decision was an example."