(CNN) -- The Trump administration on Monday said the entire Affordable Care Act should be struck down, in a dramatic reversal.
In a filing with a federal appeals court, the Justice Department said it agreed with the ruling of a federal judge in Texas that invalidated the Obama-era health care law.
In a letter Monday night, the administration said "it is not urging that any portion of the district court's judgment be reversed."
"The Department of Justice has determined that the district court's comprehensive opinion came to the correct conclusion and will support it on appeal," said Kerri Kupec, spokesperson for the Justice Department.
It's a major shift for the Justice Department from when Jeff Sessions was attorney general. At the time, the administration argued that the community rating rule and the guaranteed issue requirement -- protections for people with pre-existing conditions -- could not be defended but the rest of the law could stand.
After the Justice Department took that position, federal District Judge Reed O'Connor struck down the entire law and the case is currently before a federal appeals court.
Trump and the administration repeatedly promised -- particularly leading up to the midterm election -- to protect people with less-than-perfect medical histories.
But this shift in the Justice Department's stance only doubles down on stripping away all the protections that were a hallmark of the landmark heath reform law.
The Trump administration would not defend the law in court so a coalition of 21 Democratic states led by California stepped in.
"This lawsuit is as dangerous as it is reckless. It threatens the healthcare of tens of millions of Americans across the country -- from California to Kentucky and all the way to Maine," said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in a statement. "The Affordable Care Act is an integral part of our healthcare system. ... Because no American should fear losing healthcare, we will defend the ACA every step of the way."
After November's midterm elections, the Democratic-led House of Representatives also moved to defend the law. In briefs filed with the appellate court, House lawyers said that if O'Connor's ruling were upheld "the consequences will be devastating."
"Millions of Americans will be denied affordable health care," the House lawyers wrote. They added that "insurance costs will skyrocket" and "Medicare recipients will face steep increases in the price of drugs and other services."
Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, became the first 2020 candidate to weigh in on the filing with her criticism Monday night.
"Trump and his administration are trying to take health care away from tens of millions of Americans — again," Harris wrote in a tweet. "We must fight back again with everything we've got. And in 2020, we need to elect a president who will make health care a right."
This story has been updated.
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