The 20-states, including Arizona, are urging a federal district court in Texas to hold the Affordable Care Act’s (ACAs) individual mandate unconstitutional and to enjoin the entire law.
The brief, filed June 7 by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), argues the individual mandate is unconstitutional and can’t be extricated from other parts of the law. The DOJ asked the Texas court to invalidate key provisions of the ACA including those that protect Americans from being denied health insurance due to pre-existing conditions. Attorney General Jeff Sessions argued that guaranteeing affordable rates to those with pre-existing conditions drives up premiums and,
Otherwise individuals could wait until they become sick to purchase insurance, thus driving up premiums for everyone else.
The move comes at a time when insurers are submitting marketplace applications, creating additional instability. University of Michigan law professor Nicholas Bagley, a former Justice Department attorney weighed in,
I am at a loss for words to explain how big of a deal this is. The laws that Congress passes and the President signs are the laws of the land. They aren’t negotiable; they’re not up for further debate. If the Justice Department can just throw in the towel whenever a law is challenged in court, it can effectively pick and choose which laws should remain on the books. That’s as flagrant a violation of the President’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed as you can imagine.
Three line attorneys from the Justice Department withdrew from the case before the federal government filed its brief.
The original 20-state complaint, filed in late February, 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 However, Congress has recently repealed this tax, while leaving the mandate in place.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.
Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the coalition’s brief in a federal district court in Texas. In addition to Arizona, other states participating are Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, and West Virginia.
Learn more from an article written by Arizona’s Ken Alltucker and Ken William Cummings in USA Today
Read more from National Public Radio
Consider the issue of cost variation from The Incidental economist