In what was described as a “gut punch,” a senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official has left his post after Donald Trump promised to strike down the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. And that is probably the most sacrosanct part of Obamacare so this move is not going to fare well with Republicans for the midterm elections.
On Friday, Joel McElvain, an attorney, and well-liked boss submitted his letter of resignation, just after Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he had Trump’s approval to argue that the pre-existing conditions requirement is unconstitutional, according to the Washington Post.
“As you know, the executive branch has a long-standing tradition of defending the constitutionality of duly enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense,” Sessions wrote. “I have concluded that this is a rare case where the proper case is to forgo defense” of part of the ACA.
This doesn’t look good for Americans with pre-existing conditions (which is just about all of us):
The move to stop defending the ACA does not immediately affect any of its provisions, but it puts the law on a weaker legal footing in the Texas case, which is being heard by a Republican-appointed judge who has in other recent cases ruled against more minor aspects.
McElvain’s coworker told the paper that his resignation was a “gut punch” and a “big blow to the morale” of the DOJ.
“It’s a lot of institutional knowledge and a great deal of experience walking out the door,” a former DOJ official said.
McElvain’s resignation came as a shock after he has served 20 years with the agency.
Perhaps it never occurred to Republicans, including Trump, that the 130 million adults under the age of 65 in the U.S. that have pre-existing conditions are also of voting age.
Pre-existing conditions include conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cancer, pregnancy, being a survivor of rape and/or sexual assault, and acne.
Image via New Century Times’ gallery.