Home Regional news AG Paxton leads 18-state brief urging 5th Circuit to declare Obamacare unlawful

AG Paxton leads 18-state brief urging 5th Circuit to declare Obamacare unlawful

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Ken Paxton, AG Paxton, Texas Attorney General


Leading an 18-state coalition, Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed a brief urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit to uphold a U.S. District Court decision declaring Obamacare unconstitutional.

In February 2018, Attorney General Paxton led the coalition’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, explaining that when Congress enacted President Trump’s tax overhaul, it rendered Obamacare unconstitutional by doing away with the only constitutional basis for the law: the tax penalty in Obamacare’s individual mandate.

Last December, the U.S. District Court agreed with the coalition and subsequently issued a final judgment and stayed the effect of its ruling. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice asked the 5th Circuit to affirm the lower court’s ruling and invalidate all of Obamacare. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit is expected to hear the case in July. 

“Congress meant for the individual mandate to be the centerpiece of Obamacare. Without the constitutional justification for the centerpiece, the law must go down,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Obamacare is a failed social experiment. The sooner it is invalidated, the better, so each state can decide what type of health care system it wants and how best to provide for those with preexisting conditions, which is federalism that the Founders intended.”

When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, a majority of the justices agreed that the provision forcing individuals to purchase health insurance was constitutional only because the tax penalty was justified under the taxing power.

The U.S. District Court, in its ruling that Obamacare is now unconstitutional, held that the individual mandate requiring individuals to have health insurance “can no longer be sustained as an exercise of Congress’s tax power” because Congress eliminated the tax penalty for those who go without health coverage.

In its current unlawful form, Obamacare imposes rising costs and transfers an enormous amount of regulatory power to the federal government. In Texas and 38 other states where the federal government administers health exchanges, health insurance premiums rose an average of 105 percent from 2013 to 2017. Last year, around 82 percent of U.S. counties had only one or two health insurers selling coverage on the Obamacare exchanges.

Texas is joined in today’s filed brief by Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

View a copy of the brief here.