The Affordable Care Act, the landmark health law that has been a subject of caustic debate for more than a decade, is being tested as never before, as millions of Americans lose their jobs and medical coverage in the midst of the nation’s gravest health crisis in a century.

The law is offering a vast majority of newly unemployed people a path to stopgap health coverage, providing a cushion that did not exist during the last crushing recession — or ever before. But the crisis has also highlighted fundamental weaknesses with its patchwork system — ones magnified by Republican efforts to undermine and dismantle it, but also seized on by some Democrats pushing for a sweeping overhaul.

On Thursday, as the coronavirus pandemic surged and the country reported a daily record in new virus cases, the Trump administration continued the Republican Party’s push to abolish the law. Shortly before midnight, the Justice Department filed a brief asking the Supreme Court to overturn the law, in a case brought by a group of Republican attorneys general.

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