March 26 (UPI) -- The Trump administration shifted its stance on the Affordable Care Act, backing the complete invalidation of the healthcare law.
The U.S. Department of Justice stated its position in a letter to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday night. The department argued for the affirmation of a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas that a 2017 change in federal tax law eliminating the penalty on uninsured people invalidated the entire healthcare law, commonly known as Obamacare.
"The United States is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed, the government intends to file a brief on the appellees' schedule," the letter said.
Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said the agency had "determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal."
The Justice Department added that it will further explain its position in a later brief.
In a brief last June, the Justice Department previously said there were grounds only to strike down the law's consumer protections, including those for patients with pre-existing conditions.
The new position has prompted pushback from Democrats, who have vowed to protect the ACA.
"The Trump Admin declared all out war on affordable, dependable health care.," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote on Twitter. "In the courts, in the Congress, all across America, Democrats will fight relentlessly to #ProtectOurCare!"
Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer also spoke out against the position on the Senate floor Tuesday.
"Last night, the Department of Justice declared the entire law and all of its vital health care protections must go," he said. "Make no mistake about it, this is an escalation of the Trump administration and Republicans' attacks on protections for people with pre-existing conditions."