Friday, 18 January, 2019

Democratic attorneys general appeal ruling that struck down ACA

House Democrats move to save Obamacare from death blow Mass. joins other states in appealing Affordable Care Act decision
Melissa Porter | 04 January, 2019, 23:59

In April, AG Healey joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing a motion to intervene in the lawsuit to protect the ACA, arguing that it endangers health care coverage and funding for all Americans, particularly more vulnerable groups like seniors, children, and people with chronic medical conditions or disabilities. However, it could eventually become the third major Obamacare case to reach the Supreme Court.

Rosenblum called the ruling "an absurd interpretation of the law". 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.

House Democrats, who view the ACA as a signature achievement of former president Barack Obama, want to seize the lawsuit as an opportunity to strike back and force Republicans to go on the record about health care as they gear up for the 2020 presidential campaign. The tax cut legislation passed by the Republican Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in 2017 reduced that tax penalty to zero. Sign-ups in the 39 HealthCare.gov states were about 5 percent lower than previous year, despite the administration's deep cuts to the advertising budget and Trump's ongoing disdain for the program. O'Connor, who has emerged as something of a favorite for the Texas Attorney General's Office, issued a stay last week keeping the law in place "because many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal".

"That is, I think, why we saw the bump", he said, "those last-minute people signing up afterward".

Technically, the House's move to enter the case in Judge O'Connor's court only involves its defense of the law against specific challenges that the judge has not yet decided. Becerra said the appeals court case may take a year to decide.

"It's is an affront to the rule of law", he added, arguing that the ruling will not stand.

This rendered the mandate itself unconstitutional and the rest of the act therefore can not stand, O'Connor said.

Herring today joined a coalition of 17 attorneys general, in filing a notice of appeal in Texas v. U.S.

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.

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. However, Obamacare remains in effect pending appeal, the judge clarified earlier this week.