Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tennessee Joins 20 States to End Affordable Care Act

Posted By on Tue, Feb 27, 2018 at 11:14 AM

  • Slatery
Tennessee has joined 20 other states asking a federal court to render the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional and stop it altogether.

Tennessee’s Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III announced Monday that, without the individual mandate, the law is unconstitutional and he wants to kill it.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Texas and on it Tennessee joins Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The original ACA carried a mandate that everyone in the United States carry health insurance or face a penalty in the form of an extra tax. Last year, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which repealed the penalty for the individual mandate.

This, Slatery said, is the heart of the argument to kill the ACA.

“The lawsuit filed today explains that in 2012 in NFIB v. Sebelius the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the core provision of the ACA—the individual mandate—because the Court viewed ACA’s penalty for not complying with the individual mandate as a ‘tax,’ Slatery said in a statement. “But now, with the recent passage of its tax reform package—the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017—Congress has repealed this tax, while leaving the mandate in place.

“Since the Supreme Court has already held that Congress has no authority to impose the individual mandate on Americans without invoking its taxing authority, the repeal of the tax renders the individual mandate unconstitutional. And, since the ACA is dependent on the individual mandate, the ACA itself is now unconstitutional.”
The complain says the ACA “forces an unconstitutional and irrational regime onto the states and their citizens.” The attorneys general also argue that “Congress sought to do something unconstitutional: impose a mandate to obtain health insurance by requiring that most Americans ‘shall’ insure that they are ‘covered under minimum essential coverage.’”

But, as the complaint reads, “things changed on Dec 22. 2017” with the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

“What remains, then, is the individual mandate, without any accompanying exercise of Congress’s taxing power, which the Supreme Court already held that Congress has no authority to enact,” reads the complaint. “Not only is the individual mandate now unlawful, but this core provision is not severable from the rest of the ACA—as four Justices of the Supreme Court already concluded. In fact, Congress stated in the legislative text that the ACA does not function without the individual mandate.”

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