Health Care

Mark Herring and Democratic Attorneys General appeal Obamacare Ruling

Mark Herring and Democratic Attorneys General appeal Obamacare Ruling”

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.

A group of Democratic-led states is appealing a federal judge's controversial ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional, kicking off the next round in a legal battle that could ultimately bring the health care law back before the Supreme Court. A vote on the largely symbolic effort is expected soon.

With the appeal process officially in motion and a stay on O'Connor's decision granted, the Democratic fight to maintain the ACA's constitutionality may decelerate to a grinding pace.

This rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional and the rest of the act therefore can not stand, O'Connor said. Dismantling the ACA, he added, would be detrimental to the health of millions of Americans who are insured under the law, as well as economic growth and trust in government. 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.

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If O'Connor's ruling is upheld by a higher court, Obamacare's many provisions would be eliminated.

The House's entry into the highly visible case in a federal trial court in Fort Worth, Texas, and its imminent entry into the case as an appeal reaches the federal court of appeals based in New Orleans, did not need the approval of the Senate (still under Republican control) because it involved only an action of the House. They say their states have been negatively impacted by an increase in people on state-supported insurance.

The ACA will remain in effect while the case is under appeal.

The case involves a lawsuit filed a year ago by almost a score of Republican attorneys general, who argued that without the penalty the ACA's insurance mandate was no longer constitutional because it no longer grew out of Congress' taxing authority.

According to the plaintiffs in the case, the mandate doesn't qualify as a tax if it doesn't actually require payment of money. The sweeping law, approved in 2010 under President Obama, created federal and state exchanges where individuals can buy insurance.

The group of Democratic attorneys general emerged a year ago as the main defenders of the law when the Trump administration, in an unusual move, announced that it would not defend the ACA against the lawsuit.

However, the DOJ, in its filings in the lawsuit, did not endorse the claim that the entire law is invalid even if provisions related to the individual mandate are invalid.

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