Democrats feeling dejected after the Robert Mueller report failed to meet their expectations didn't have to wait long for a boost. On Monday, the Trump administration asked a federal appeals court to strike down ObamaCare, giving Democrats an opportunity to return to a key campaign issue. The administration, which had earlier sought to strike down only parts of the law, is now seeking to do away with the entire Affordable Care Act, including popular provisions like banning insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. More:
- Democrats "thrilled." BuzzFeed reports that Republicans were split on the move, while Democrats were "thrilled," and a little puzzled by the president's timing. "It’s hard to figure out," said Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. "They literally are teeing this up as an issue for Democrats for the next year and a half. They're not even making a laughable attempt to save the most popular parts of the Affordable Care Act."
- GOP divisions. President Trump said Tuesday that the GOP will soon be known as "the party of health care," but the party is split between conservatives eager to abolish ObamaCare and moderate lawmakers who worry about how voters will react, the Wall Street Journal reports. "You’ve got to have a framework for pre-existing conditions. You can't just wipe everything away and have nothing there," says Rep. Don Bacon, who represents a swing district in Nebraska.
- Election preview. While the case is unlikely to be resolved in the near future, the Trump administration's move is likely to energize Democratic candidates gearing up for next year's election. "The move sets up the possibility that hundreds of thousands of Americans could lose their health insurance—perhaps around the time of the 2020 presidential election—with the Trump administration part of the reason why," notes Anthony Zurcher at the BBC.
- A gift for Nancy Pelosi. Trump had handed his opponents the issue that "more than any other, won the House back for the Democrats in last year’s midterm elections," writes Karen Tumulty at the Washington Post. If Trump is playing hardball to get Democrats to the negotiating table, he may have miscalculated as badly as when he shut down the government, she writes. "Tuesday was Pelosi’s birthday," she writes. "And Trump just handed her the best gift she could have hoped for."
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