Trump admin asks Supreme Court to invalidate Obamacare, CDC estimates millions more had COVID-19, Texas pauses reopening

White House picks health care fight in middle of pandemic and recession.
Image: Obamacare Tax Subsidies Supreme Court
Demonstrators in support of President Barack Obama's health-care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), hold up signs after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to save Obamacare tax subsidies outside the Supreme Court in June 2015.Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

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By Petra Cahill

Good morning, NBC News readers.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to surge across the country, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to wipe out Obamacare — setting the stage for another massive debate over healthcare in the United States in the middle of a contentious election year.

Here's what we're watching this Friday.


Amid pandemic and recession, Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare

The Trump administration on Thursday night urged the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, pushing forward with its attack on the health care law as millions of newly jobless Americans may come to depend on its coverage.

The late-night brief, filed Thursday in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, carries major implications for the presidential election. If the justices agree, it would cost an estimated 20 million Americans their insurance coverage and nullify protections for pre-existing conditions.

The move comes weeks after President Donald Trump confirmed that his administration would continue to press for the health care act's elimination, ignoring warnings from top aides and Republicans about the risk of voter backlash in November.

Joe Biden has already made Trump's attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act a major campaign issue and tied it to the president's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a speech on Thursday, Biden said, "if Donald Trump has his way, complications from COVID-19 could become a new pre-existing condition," which insurance plans could decide not to cover.

"It's cruel, it's heartless, it's callous," the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee said.

Meantime, Trump keeps saying the coronavirus pandemic isn't really a serious threat to the public and rising infection rates are simply due to increased testing. "It's going away," he said Tuesday at an event in Phoenix.

But that rosy prediction is at odds with his own administration's disease experts and data compiled by his own coronavirus task force, which was obtained exclusively by NBC News.


CDC says COVID-19 cases in U.S. may be 10 times higher than reported

The true number of Americans who've been infected with COVID-19 may top 20 million, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our best estimate right now is that for every case that's reported, there actually are 10 other infections," Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said on a call with reporters Thursday.

The assessment comes from looking at blood samples across the country for the presence of antibodies to the virus.

The CDC also expanded its list of who is at greatest risk for COVID-19 complications, removing the age cutoff of 65.

"There's not an exact cutoff of age at which people should or should not be concerned," said Dr. Jay Butler, head of the COVID-19 response at the CDC.

The CDC estimates come as the virus continues to surge across the country.

The governor of Texas hit the brakes on reopening his state Thursday as hospitals were inundated with "an explosion" of COVID-19 cases.

“The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," Gov. Greg Abbott said in a statement. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business."

With COVID-19 cases spiking across Southern and Western states, the question has come up: Does air conditioning spread the coronavirus?

Experts say the problem might not be the air conditioning, but rather the amount of time spent indoors in close proximity to others.


House passes Democrat-led bill for sweeping police reform in wake of George Floyd's death

The House passed a sweeping police reform bill on Thursday largely along party lines to address systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

Three Republicans — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan — broke ranks and joined Dems in supporting the bill.

The legislation would ban all neck restraints, including chokeholds and the kind used on Floyd by a then-Minneapolis police officer, as well as no-knock warrants in drug cases, as was used in the fatal shooting of Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Kentucky, in March.

However, the prospect that the House bill or any other on the subject will actually reach the president's desk are doubtful.

Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are digging in and already assigning blame for a growing stalemate over police reform.


The future of the coronavirus recovery runs through the classroom

Will your children be back at school this fall?

If you're having trouble answering that question, you're not alone. Across the country, state and local officials are still struggling to develop plans and backups depending on the severity of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fact of the matter is: Nobody knows what school will look like in the fall, and that's a huge problem for everything from the economy to November's elections, NBC News Benjy Sarlin writes in a news analysis.

"There are 78 million parents with at least one child in their household under 18. That's almost a third of the adult population," said labor economist Ernie Tedeschi, a former Treasury Department official. "A parent's ability to find and keep a job is inseparable from child care and schooling."


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Plus

  • Reopen, restrict, repeat: China declares new outbreak contained after huge testing effort.
  • A New York state judge tossed out a lawsuitintended to block publication of a Trump family tell-all book.
  • The Dixie Chicks have changed their name to The Chicks, saying simply: "We want to meet this moment."
  • Not my cup of tea: A spat over hot drinks is brewing between the U.S. and U.K. ambassadors.

THINK about it

Coronavirus shut schools — and shut down mean girls, child and adolescent psychotherapist Katie Hurley writes in an opinion piece.


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Shopping

Miss going to the movie theater? Step up your next at-home movie night with these expert-approved outdoor movie projectors and screens.


One fun thing

After 103 days of closure, the longest closure since World War II, the Eiffel Tower has made its grand reopening.

Both tourists and locals were all excited to be able to visit the iconic Parisian landmark, even when required to wear masks and climb 675 stairs to catch the striking view.


Thanks for reading the Morning Rundown.

If you have any comments — likes, dislikes — drop me an email at: petra@nbcuni.com

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Thanks, Petra