States appeal judge's ruling striking down Obamacare

Pearl Mccarthy
January 4, 2019

"In November, the American people delivered a new Democratic House majority with a stern message for Washington: Republicans' attacks on health care must end", Mrs. Pelosi said.

An afternoon recap of the day's most important business news, delivered weekdays. The notion that the severance of the individual mandate makes the entire ACA unconstitutional is "verging on ludicrous" and an "absurd interpretation of the law", she said.

The House of Representatives on Friday launched a legal effort to help defend Obamacare in a court case that is threatening to kill that landmark health-care reform law, which has led to the expansion of health insurance to millions of Americans. Thursday's filing continues the coalition's legal defense of the ACA, with a request to appeal the district court's December 14 opinion in the Fifth Circuit. The tax cut legislation passed by the Republican Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in 2017 reduced that tax penalty to zero. The Supreme Court has already heard two major lawsuits that sought to declare the health care law unconstitutional. That means that when the tax penalty for not buying insurance was removed by Congress, it also removed the constitutional foundation for the law.

The group of Democratic attorneys general emerged past year 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.

"This case impacts almost every American", Becerra said. The decision has been stayed pending appeal.

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The notice of appeal marks the next stage of what is expected to be a long-running litigation process that could reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

Serr said growth in the state's population could be fueling the increase in insurance enrollment, as well as an increasing familiarity with Obamacare plans and Healthcare.gov among consumers. In particular, the House filing said, the House has an institutional interest in the validity of laws it passes, an interest the states do not share because they are at a different level of government.

Although Judge O'Connor was told by the House that the challenging states and the Trump Administration are opposed to the House's entry, the new filing in Fort Worth made a series of arguments that the legislative chamber has both an explicit legal right to do so, but also has a backup argument that it should be let into the case as a matter of judicial discretion. When Congress eliminated that fee as part of its sweeping change to the federal tax code past year, Republican lawmakers argued that the mandate could no longer be upheld as a tax.

"Our goal is simple: to stand up for the law of the land - the Affordable Care Act - in order to keep healthcare affordable and accessible for millions of Americans", Becerra said.

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