Two Cabinet secretaries — Attorney General William Barr and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar — pushed back on the Trump administration's recent decision to reverse course and try to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, three people with knowledge of the matter told Politico.
In a letter sent to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday, the Justice Department said federal lawyers will file a brief in support of a December district court ruling that the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, and this renders the entire law invalid. Talks have been underway since late last year, with Azar arguing in December that there was no reason to fully repeal ObamaCare because Republicans don't have an alternative plan.
Barr was confirmed earlier this year, and "his opposition was based in part on skepticism among conservative lawyers about the wisdom of seeking to overturn the law," Politico reports. He was overruled by the White House on this ACA reversal plan, and he must now lead the Justice Department as it works to topple the health-care law.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was once a congressman from South Carolina, a Tea Party ultra-conservative and one of the loudest critics of the ACA. Two of his close allies — acting director of the Office of Management and Budget Russ Vought and domestic policy chief Joe Grogan — pushed for the DOJ to back the December ruling, people with knowledge of the matter told Politico.