Senior DOJ official resigns in wake of ObamaCare decision

A senior career Department of Justice (DOJ) official has resigned, one week after the Trump administration made a controversial announcement that it would argue key parts of ObamaCare are unconstitutional.

A DOJ official confirmed to The Hill that Joel McElvain resigned and his last day is July 6, but declined to comment on whether the resignation was due to last week’s announcement.

His departure was first reported by The Washington Post.

Last week, the DOJ wrote in a filing that it wouldn’t defend ObamaCare’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The move broke with historical practice, where the DOJ defends federal laws, and sided in part with a challenge to the law brought by a coalition of Republican-led states.

According to the Post, McElvain had worked at DOJ for over 20 years and submitted his resignation Friday, the day after DOJ announced it wouldn’t defend parts of ObamaCare. DOJ’s decision reversed years of legal work McElvain and the department had amassed to defend ObamaCare in court.

On Capitol Hill Tuesday, Alex Azar, the Health and Human Services secretary, said that the administration's decision is not a "policy position" but a constitutional and legal position.

Last year, Republicans repealed the requirement that Americans have health insurance or pay a fine, known as the individual mandate.

A coalition of Republican-led states sued in February, arguing the law in its entirety was no longer constitutional without the individual mandate. The administration didn’t agree that the whole law needed to be overturned, but rather that two provisions protecting people with pre-existing conditions should be.