In a 20-state lawsuit filed Monday in federal court, Attorney General Ken Paxton argued that after the passage of the GOP’s tax plan last year — which also repealed a provision of the sweeping legislation known as “Obamacare” that required people to have health insurance — the health care law is no longer constitutional.
“Texans have known all along that Obamacare is unlawful, and a divided Supreme Court’s approval rested solely on the flimsy support of Congress’ authority to tax. Congress has now kicked that flimsy support from beneath the law,” Paxton said in a statement Monday. “With no remaining legitimate basis for the law, it is time that Americans are finally free from the stranglehold of Obamacare, once and for all.”
The Hill reports that the linchpin of the ACA is and has always been the individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans purchase health insurance and, separately, a tax penalty for most who fail to comply. Under Congress’ own findings, the ACA’s provisions do not function rationally without the individual mandate. Congress found this requirement as “essential to creating effective health insurance markets,” and that absence of the individual mandate “requirement would undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market.”
Texas did not elect to create a state exchange for health insurance, as the Affordable Care Act provided for, but the law still had important impacts on the state, Paxton said, including increasing the amount of money Texas must pay the Internal Revenue Service through its Medicaid managed care organizations. Repealing the law would allow Congress to “replace that failed experiment with a plan that ensures Texans and all Americans have better choices for health coverage at more affordable prices,” Paxton said.
When Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act at the end of 2017, one of the provisions set the individual mandate penalty at $0.00, but did not repeal the statutory language. In doing so, the individual mandate penalty ceased to generate any revenue for the federal government, the key component that the Supreme Court relied upon to find the mandate as an exercise of taxation powers. And like a house of cards, the ACA is poised to come tumbling down.
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
March 28th, 2018