Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the coalition’s legal brief in federal district court in Texas.
The Arizona Daily Star reports that the states participating are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.
The lawsuit argues because the Trump administration amended the Affordable Care Act to eliminate the tax penalty of the ACA, the entire ACA is now unlawful.
According to the complaint as reported in The Phoenix Business Journal:
Not only is the individual mandate now unlawful, but this core provision is not severable from the rest of the ACA — as four Justices of the Supreme Court already concluded. In fact, Congress stated in the legislative text that the ACA does not function without the individual mandate.
Once the individual mandate is declared unconstitutional, the remainder of the ACA also must fall, according to the complaint.
Attorney General Mark Brnovich joined a 20-state coalition urging a federal district court in Texas to hold the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate is unconstitutional and to enjoin the entire law.
The complaint, filed late Monday, explains the ACA, as recently amended, forces an unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the states and their citizens. In NFIB v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the core provision of the ACA – the individual mandate – as a “tax.” However, Congress has recently repealed this tax, while leaving the mandate in place. Since the Supreme Court has already held Congress has no authority to impose such a mandate on Americans, absent invoking its taxing authority, the ACA is now unconstitutional. Read the press release from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich
Read “5 things to know” from Becker’s Hospital Review
Many of the same states argued at the Supreme Court in 2012 that the individual mandate was unconstitutional — and that the whole law was invalid because it couldn’t survive without the mandate.
But Chief Justice John Roberts stunned conservatives by siding with the court’s more liberal justices, arguing that the mandate was not valid under the Commerce Clause but was legal because it was a tax. The plaintiffs in Texas v. USA, led by Paxton and his counterpart in Wisconsin, are now trying to use Roberts’ own reasoning to box him into a legal corner. They argue that Congress’ decision to eliminate the mandate penalty means the legal premise of the mandate has crumbled. If the mandate is gone, the rest of the law must go, too.
Politico quotes Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge:
What this lawsuit does is remove the crutch that Chief Justice John Roberts gave Obamacare to prop it up. It’s time that we remove the Affordable Care Act from the backs of the American people.
A Justice Department official did not respond to a request for comment. The attorneys general said they informed the Trump administration shortly before they filed the case but did not collaborate with administration officials.
The success of the suit will likely rest on whether the remainder of the health care law can survive without the mandate — a legal concept called severability. Read more in Politico.
Read the filed complaint for yourself.