"“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.”
Barr also opposed the decision, and now finds himself in the uncomfortable position of running the department that leads the new charge against Obamacare. His opposition was based in part on skepticism among conservative lawyers about the wisdom of seeking to overturn the law, officially known as the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld the constitutionality of Obamacare's individual mandate, which the current lawsuit is once again challenging. The attorney general, who was confirmed only a month ago, was overruled by the White House.
The lawsuit at issue seeks to invalidate the entire health care law. Previously, the Trump administration had only supported challenges to parts of Obamacare without backing its complete invalidation — an outcome that would throw the U.S. health care system into chaos if an alternative system is not put into place by Republicans who have so far been unable to agree on a plan. The current challenge to the law was brought by a group of state GOP attorneys general.
Monday's Justice Department letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said federal lawyers would file a brief in support of a district court judge’s finding that the individual mandate included in the Obama-era law is now invalid as a tax because the GOP Congress reduced to the fine to zero dollars, and the government cannot levy a zero-dollar tax." Politico
Secretary Azar and AG Barr opposed this statement that the United States will not seek to defend the ACA against the decision of a US district court that the disappearance of the personal mandate in the ACA invalidates the whole law constitutionally.
I can see why they opposed this policy. Azar is the Secretary of Health and Human Services. He and Barr know that the GOP does not have a substitute law waiting to take the place of a fallen ACA. For Trump to say that the Republicans will take charge of health care as an issue seems an act of bravado motivated by the Democratic Party's effective use of this as a weapon in the 2018 election.
Well, pilgrims, if the Republicans cannot produce on this over the objections of the Democratic House of Representatives, they will be hurt badly in 2020. pl