Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has joined a coalition of 19 states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a recent decision that found the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to be unconstitutional.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held in a December ruling that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional, but ordered a lower court to decide whether the rest of the law can remain intact.
“The individual mandate is unconstitutional because it can no longer be read as a tax, and there is no other constitutional provision that justifies this exercise of congressional power,” said the court. “On the severability question, we remand to the district court to provide additional analysis of the provisions of the ACA as they currently exist.”
In the 2-1 decision, the court said that it may be that some, none, or all of the ACA is “severable from the individual mandate.”
Ellison has now joined 19 other states in filing a petition that asks the Supreme Court to review the lower court’s decision.
“Affordable, high-quality health care is a human right. It’s essential to being able to afford your life and live with dignity and respect,” Ellison said in a statement. “Asking the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit’s illogical and chaotic decision as quickly as possible is part of doing everything in my power to defend that human right.”
The petition asks the Supreme Court to take up and resolve the case before the end of its current term in June. According to Ellison’s office, Minnesota has been a part of the coalition of Democratic attorneys general, led by California, in defending the ACA since the beginning of the Texas v. U.S. case. The case stems from a lawsuit filed by a Texas-led coalition of states and supported by the Trump administration. The lawsuit argued that “Congress rendered the ACA’s individual mandate unconstitutional when it reduced the penalty for not securing healthcare coverage to $0.”
“They further argued that the rest of the ACA should be held invalid as a result of that change,” Ellison’s office explained.
His office further claimed that more than 2.3 million Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions are at risk of facing high premiums or being denied coverage altogether if the ACA is repealed in its entirety. Another 2.7 million Minnesotans would lose the federal guarantee of preventive services, like flu shots, contraception, and cancer screenings.
Joining Ellison in filing the petition for a review of the case are California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the attorneys general of Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington, and the District of Columbia, as well as the governor of Kentucky.
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