Wednesday's court arguments comeas Republicans try to defend their control of the House and Senatewhile many Democrats make health care a central issue in theircampaigns. (Photo: Getty)

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The Trump administration isn't defending Obamacare from a legal attackthat could finally slay the embattled health-care law, but the federalgovernment cautioned Wednesday that an immediate and nationwidehalt may trigger “chaos.”

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Unlike the state of Texas, which urged a federal judge to blockthe Affordable Care Act right away, the Justice Department wants acourt order not to take effect before Jan. 1, when the provisionrequiring people to pay a tax if they don'thave insurance is phased out.

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Related: The dismantling of the ACA: Atimeline

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Blocking Obamacare before January would “cause chaos in theinsurance market,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brett Shumatetold U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor.

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While the federal government's position has been consistentsince it first announced in June that it won't defend the law, thepolitics around the Republican-led effort to nullify Obamacare havebeen amplified in the run-up to the November congressionalelections. Wednesday's court arguments come as Republicans try todefend their control of the House and Senate while many Democratsmake health care a central issue in their campaigns.

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O'Connor asked tough questions of all sides, including a groupof Democratic attorneys general who've stepped in to defendObamacare, and didn't signal how he will rule.

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— With assistance by Sahil Kapur, and KartikayMehrotra

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Copyright 2018 Bloomberg. All rightsreserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten,or redistributed.

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