Indiana joins new effort to end Obamacare

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Indiana has joined a 20-state coalition in a renewed attempt to overturn the Affordable Care Act, arguing the changes to the individual mandate brought by the 2017 tax reform render the entire healthcare law unconstitutional.

Led by Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the coalition of states filed their complaint Monday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The suit takes aim at the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, dubbed Obamacare, that was passed by Congress in 2010.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill along with attorneys general from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia joined the lawsuit. Also, the governors of Maine and Mississippi are parties to the complaint.

Hill issued a press release announcing the filing of the complaint but did not provide any accompanying statement. He is scheduled to participate in a press conference today with some of the other attorneys general representing the lawsuit who are all gathered in Washington, D.C., as part of the annual meeting of the National Association of Attorneys General.  

The states assert, as the U.S. Supreme Court held in NFIB v. Sebelius, 567 U.S. 519 (2012), Congress only has the ability to compel citizens to purchase health insurance under its taxing authority. Now that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the tax penalty for not having health coverage, Congress has no authority to act.

“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,” the complaint stated. “In fact, Congress stated in the legislative text that the ACA does not function without the individual mandate.”

In addition to claiming the individual mandate exceeds Congress’ enumerated powers, the plaintiffs contend the ACA violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment and the Tenth Amendment’s delegation of powers to the states.

The complaint is Texas, Wisconsin, et al. v. United State of America, United States Department of Health and Human Services, et al., 4:18-cv-00167.

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