JPecha/iStockBy DEVIN DWYER, ABC News(WASHINGTON) — In the midst of a pandemic and without an alternative health plan of its own, the Trump administration formally called on the U.S. Supreme Court to completely strike down the Affordable Care Act.The administration makes the case in a legal brief filed Thursday in the case brought by 20 Republican-led states that want to completely invalidate the law. The justices will hear oral arguments as soon as October, which is just weeks before the general election.Two lower federal courts have ruled that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional after the GOP Congress in 2017 zeroed out the penalty for going without health insurance. Both courts called into question the viability of the entire law without the mandate.“The individual mandate cannot be severed from the remainder of the ACA,” writes Trump solicitor general Noel Francisco. “The entire ACA thus must fall with the individual mandate.”California and 19 other Democrat-led states are defending the law.Former Vice President Joe Biden defended Obamacare Thursday at a campaign stop focused on health care, saying doing away with the ACA during a pandemic could be particularly harmful to many that need health care the most.“I think it’s cruel. It’s heartless. It’s callous. And it’s all because, in my view, he can’t abide the thought of letting stand on one of President Obama’s greatest achievements, the Affordable Care Act,” Biden said of the administrations’ lawsuit.Biden warned those who have survived COVID-19 and have subsequent health issues could be especially at-risk.“They would live their lives caught in a vise between Donald Trump’s twin legacies: his failure to protect the American people from the coronavirus and his heartless crusade to take health care protections away from American families,” Biden said.The ACA has sharply reduced the number of uninsured Americans since 2010, covering 20 million more people than if the law had not taken effect, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi issued a statement late Thursday night, calling the Trump administration’s decision “unfathomably cruelty” to “rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.”“There is no legal justification and no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care,” she said.Industry groups and independent health care analysts say abruptly wiping out Obamacare would mean a highly disruptive shift in the health care of millions of Americans.An estimated 52 million Americans have preexisting health conditions that insurers could have denied coverage to under pre-ACA rules in most states, the foundation said.Preexisting condition protections and Obamacare insurance subsidies remain in place, for now, as the case continues, but could be at risk.The case marks the third time the justices will consider the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act since it was signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. Chief Justice John Roberts in 2012 famously cast the decisive vote, siding with the court’s liberal justices to uphold the law. Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
In this Sept. 18, 2010 photo, former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon Jr. sits in his office in Henderson, Nev. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken, File) NEW YORK (AP) — Six current college football players were added as plaintiffs Thursday to a high-profile anti-trust lawsuit that claims the NCAA owes billions of dollars to former players for allowing their likenesses to be used without compensation.The players are: Vanderbilt linebacker Chase Garnham; Clemson cornerback Darius Robinson; linebacker Jake Fischer and kicker Jake Smith from Arizona; and tight end Moses Alipate and wide receiver Victor Keise of Minnesota.“These athletes are incredibly brave. They are well-aware of the risks of standing up to the NCAA, and yet they felt that this was the right thing to do,” Michael Hausfeld, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs, said in a statement.Former UCLA basketball star Ed O’Bannon is the lead plaintiff among 16 former college athletes in the long-running legal battle that could fundamentally alter how the NCAA operates. Basketball Hall of Famers Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson previously joined the lawsuit that also names video-game maker EA and the Collegiate Licensing Company.A federal judge in Oakland, Calif., on July 5 allowed the attorneys to update their lawsuit to fix legal technicalities, including adding at least one active player to the lawsuit.Garnham and Fischer are the most prominent players among the six new plaintiffs, all of whom are seniors.Fischer is one of the Pac-12’s top linebackers. He led Arizona with 119 tackles last year.Garnham led Vanderbilt with seven sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.Robinson has started six games in each of the last two seasons for the Tigers, though his season was cut short last year by an ankle injury in October.Smith is a walk-on who missed last season with a knee injury and is competing for a starting job this season.Alipate has not played at Minnesota in four seasons, including a redshirt year. Keise played 14 games over three seasons for the Gophers.NCAA spokeswoman Stacey Osburn said the NCAA would reserve comment until it has had time to read the amended complaint filed Thursday.The judge is still mulling whether to turn the lawsuit into a class action, representing thousands of current and former athletes. Such a ruling would be a significant legal victory for the players, exposing the NCAA and its member schools to billions of dollars in damage. The plaintiffs now demand the NCAA find a way to give players a cut of the billions of dollars earned from live broadcasts and memorabilia sales, along with video games.The move to add current student-athletes to the suit comes a day after the NCAA announced that it would no longer allow EA to use its name and logo in video games.Hausfeld called the NCAA’s decision to break ties with EA “petty and arrogant”“It’s admission of a practice that goes to the heart of the contention that the NCAA believes it is above the law,” he said late Wednesday.Osburn responded in a statement that the NCAA’s business relationship with EA only pertained to the logo and name.“Student-athletes were never a part of this relationship and plaintiffs’ attorneys know it. Further, the $545,000 paid annually to the NCAA for the use of the logo and name goes right back to support student-athletes across all three divisions,” she said.___Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP