In his determination to see the Affordable Care Act gone, one way or another, Donald Trump has threatened to “let it explode” by killing off payments for insurance companies.
But his administration has also resorted to a number of other tactics that may actually be illegal — and there may be some big guns trained on the administration as three separate actions challenge the administration’s efforts.
First, a report in the Washington Post says there’s a request by Democrats to the Government Accountability Office to investigate “whether the Trump administration has been violating the law by using government resources to promote the Republican replacement plan.”
The GAO has already announced its intention to examine the Department of Health and Human Services “for possible lawbreaking” after Senator Patty Murphy, D-WA, and three other Democrats requested in their own letter to the GAO and the U.S. inspector general that the GAO investigate whether HHS is engaging in a “pattern” of “using federal resources to advance partisan legislation.”
HHS has used its official Twitter account to denigrate the ACA and push Trumpcare, and may have used taxpayer funds to film videos that do the same, thus “engaging in covert propaganda,” according to the letter.
Then there’s a report in the Huffington Post that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has ruled that attorneys general from 17 states and the District of Columbia “may pursue the Trump administration’s stalled appeal of a lawsuit alleging the federal government has been making [the aforementioned payments to health insurance companies] illegally.”
The lawsuit was filed by Congress against the Obama administration after Congress refused to explicitly authorize funding for those payments and the Obama administration paid them anyway. When Obama left office, that meant Trump’s administration became the defendant — and suddenly the government was not vigorously defending the payments against the Congressional lawsuit.
So the state attorneys general sued.
According to the report, the court agreed with state officials “that there’s reason to believe the Trump administration isn’t adequately acting on behalf of states.” Naturally, the Trump administration and House Republicans have opposed the states’ determination to rejuvenate that appeal.