Mass Attorney General Appeals Affordable Care Act Ruling With Multi-state Coalition

04 January, 2019, 23:57 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Shelby Knowles  The Texas Tribune

The Democratic coalition of states battling Texas over the fate of the Affordable Care Act has formally begun the process of challenging a December 14 decision ruling the law unconstitutional in its entirety.

Weiser's win in Colorado was one of four state attorney general races Democrats picked up in the 2018 midterm elections, giving the California-led coalition a potential boost over the Texas-led coalition of Republican state attorneys general who sued to overturn the ACA. A Texas-led coalition of 20 states kicked the process off almost a year ago by suing the federal government to kill the law; after the Justice Department sided partially with Texas, the California-led coalition of states stepped in to defend Obamacare in court.

Meanwhile, Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone of New Jersey announced Thursday that he will hold a hearing later this month on the impact of District Judge Reed O'Connor's ruling. The newly Democratic-led House of Representatives is expected to allow its legal counsel to intervene in the case and join the appellants, with a formal vote on a resolution expected to take place next week.

Yet Judge O'Connor said Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was clear in 2012, when he said the law's benefits and consumer protections ran in conjunction with the mandate. That move will be followed by a vote next week created to force GOP lawmakers into a political corner: agree to defend a law many members have spent years reviling or appear to oppose popular ACA protections for millions of Americans with preexisting medical conditions that many have pledged to uphold.

Thank you for signing up for Louisiana Record Alerts! Those provisions include prohibitions on insurers charging higher premiums or denying coverage for people with pre-existing health conditions.

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Attorneys general from more than a dozen Democratic states are leading the charge to defend the Affordable Care Act at the next phase in court.

The case could end up being decided by the Supreme Court, which on two prior occasions has issued decisions that kept much of Obamacare intact. That process takes another step today as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals must now decide whether to take up the challenge.

The first of those decisions ruled that the individual mandate requiring most people to have health coverage or face a fine was a tax, and hence was constitutional. The sweeping law, approved in 2010 under President Obama, created federal and state exchanges where individuals can buy insurance.

While that argument is widely disputed, even by long-standing critics of Obamacare, O'Connor endorsed it with his ruling.

The Democratic states have stepped up to defend the law because the Trump administration has declined to do so.

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