Fresh from victory in the battle over federal funding to sanctuary cities, Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday opened yet another legal front in his long-running war against President Donald Trump.
Chicago joined Baltimore, Cincinnati, Columbus, Ohio and the the non-profit known as “Democracy Forward” in filing a lawsuit accusing the Trump administration of “intentionally and unlawfully sabotaging” the Affordable Care Act.
“President Trump is attempting to sabotage the Affordable Care Act out of pure spite. It is not just immoral. It is illegal,” Emanuel, who served as former President Barack Obama’s first White House chief of staff, was quoted as saying in a press release.
“I worked hard to help President Obama expand access to affordable health care for millions of Americans and I will not sit idly by while the Trump administration raises the cost of care and rolls back access to life-saving coverage.”
Corporation Counsel Ed Siskel argued that the Trump administration’s efforts to “discourage enrollment, raise prices, sow uncertainty in insurance markets and eliminate choices” violates the “Administrative Procedure Act and the Take Care Clause” of the U.S. Constitution.
“The President has an established obligation to enforce laws. He cannot allow his personal politics to override the will of Congress,” Siskel was quoted as saying.
The lawsuit was filed by the city Law Department’s new “Affirmative Litigation Division” — which was created, in part, to take a more aggressive stand against federal actions that hurt major cities.
It argues that the Trump administration’s efforts to “knowingly and intentionally undermine” the Affordable Care Act after failing to repeal it have real financial consequences for beleaguered Chicago taxpayers.
An increase in the number of uninsured or under-insured residents would “force Chicago to pay more to operate and subsidize” public health clinics and put a greater strain and “unrecouped costs” on the Chicago Fire Department’s newly-expanded fleet of 80 ambulances, the city contends.
Last week, a federal judge sided with Chicago, ruling that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions does not have the authority to withhold federal public safety grants to Chicago and other sanctuary cities.
Taking on Trump over the Affordable Care Act could also give Emanuel a chance at political redemption.
The mayor took it on the chin on the issue during the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia where Hillary Clinton claimed her historic nomination.
A 10-minute video that highlighted Obama’s achievements essentially threw the mayor under the bus by portraying Emanuel as a calculating naysayer whose advice was ignored during the fight for Obamacare.