Trump said he would let the Affordable Care Act "explode" after Republicans failed last month to pass their own repeal bill in Congress, and told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that he may withhold billions of dollars of payments to insurers to force Democrats to negotiate on healthcare.
Public statements like that led to judges blocking Trump's proposed travel bans earlier this year, and could prove to be one line of attack in legal attempts to protect the healthcare bill, according to a handful of liberal US lawyers and state attorneys general. They said they are waiting to see what action the administration ultimately takes on the healthcare law before they will officially respond.
Massachusetts Attorney General Healey said Trump is legally bound to enforce the ACA. But his words make it clear he is willing to sabotage it, in her view.
"He is intent on setting the dynamite and blowing this up," Healey told Reuters.
She said it is too early to speculate about specific legal action but said Trump's remarks about the law "suggest he is out there not just hoping that it fails but working to see it fail."
I hadn't heard of the "take care clause," but I like the idea. And I like the idea that Trump's mouth is being held against him.
One such legal challenge being discussed is suing the Trump administration for failing to abide by the "take care clause," which requires that the president faithfully execute laws enacted by Congress, according to Deepak Gupta, a Washington lawyer who often works on public interest cases.
"That the president is operating in good faith … is pretty critical to how the law works. That good faith is legitimately in question," he said.