Judge Andrew Napolitano told a Fox News audience on Monday that a lawsuit moving through the courts that would strike down the Affordable Care Act is “an enormous problem” for Republicans.
Napolitano was referring to a lawsuit, filed by 20 state attorneys general last year, calling into question the ACA’s constitutionality. A district judge in December ruled in the plaintiff’s favor. The case has now been appealed to the 5th Circuit Court, with the Trump administration joining in defending it.
Speaking to Julie Banderas on America’s Newsroom, Napolitano agreed that the ACA is unconstitutional. Then he pointed out the problem for the GOP if the 5th Circuit and, possibly, the Supreme Court later on, agree with the district judge’s ruling: “If the unconstitutionality of it is upheld, what are the Republicans going to replace it with? You have 21 million people in the United States receiving government-subsidized health insurance as a result of Obamacare. Are you going to take that away from them?”
He added, “It will be politically catastrophic.” He went on to note that Republicans are hoping the lawsuit, which the Trump administration joined last week, will fail in the courts and spare them the fallout.
Though Napolitano does not say it explicitly, winning this lawsuit would make Republicans the dog that finally catches the car. They have no replacement plan that would keep some of the ACA’s more popular provisions, such as protecting people with pre-existing conditions, without making health insurance even more catastrophically expensive. Nor do they want to have to try to come up with such a plan and have it consume the Congress in the run-up to the 2020 election. If the 2018 midterms are any guide, the issue favors Democrats, who won huge gains in the House of Representatives by running on plans to improve on the ACA and, possibly, eventually move the nation to an even more government-centric healthcare system.
Watch the clip up top, via Fox News.