Politics

20 State AGs Contend Obamacare Unconstitutional, Launch New Lawsuit

Obamacare liberals mandate individualNow that Obamacare lacks the individual mandate tax that prompted the Supreme Court to hold it constitutional, 20 attorneys general are again challenging the law.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel are leading thelawsuit. They were joined by colleagues from across the country Tuesday at The Heritage Foundation, contending the tax reform law that eliminates the individual mandate renders the rest of the law unconstitutional.

“We’re all aware of the devastation the [Affordable Care Act] has caused, with premiums skyrocketing, every single day families losing coverage or being penalized for not having it,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association. “Essentially, what this lawsuit does is it removes the crutch the Chief Justice John Roberts gave Obamacare to prop it up.”

Congress voted to do away with the health care law’s individual mandate last year as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

In a 5-4 decision in 2012, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, primarily on the basis that penalties from the individual mandate were legal under Congress’ authority to tax.

“The law became unconstitutional when they took out penalty,” Paul Larkin, a senior legal research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Five members of the Supreme Court concluded that Congress lacked the ability under the commerce clause to pass this law, but defended its ability to pass under the taxing authority. Now, it’s not justifiable.”

In the majority opinion, Roberts wrote:

The Framers knew the difference between doing something and doing nothing. They gave Congress the power to regulate commerce, not to compel it. Ignoring that distinction would undermine the principle that the Federal Government is a government of limited and enumerated powers.

In addition to Arkansas, Wisconsin, and Texas, other states involved in the lawsuit are Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.

Several of the attorneys general were in meetings with Trump administration officials while in Washington for the National Association of Attorneys General conference.

However, the administration hasn’t yet reacted to the lawsuit, Schimel said.

“Several of us have actually been in meetings with various Trump administration officials the last few days,” Schimel said. “When yesterday, they asked us, do you have anything else, we informed them in about an hour and a half we’re going to be suing you. They obviously were not in a position to have any reaction at this time. They are still accessing the lawsuit. We didn’t coordinate coming into it.”

Asked if they expect the Trump administration to defend Obamacare, Paxton said, “We’re hopeful they’ll just confess judgment and let us win.”

The attorneys general say the Obamacare law imposes rising costs on consumers and gives vast power to the federal government, contending in most states, prices more than doubled from 2013 through 2017, while 70 percent of U.S. counties have only one or two health insurers.

From - The Daily Signal - by Fred Lucas

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