Obamacare has largely been out of the spotlight since the GOP’s repeated failure to overturn the law in 2017, but the controversial healthcare law is still impacting the lives – and wallets – of millions of Americans.
That’s why 20 states have teamed up to challenge the law in the courts.
Leading the charge is the Texas Public Policy Foundation, whose director Robert Henneke calls the Affordable Care Act a “regulatory behemoth” that is “changing the relationship between individuals and their government, and thereby changing the entire US economy.”
The lawsuit is centered on the ACA’s “individual mandate” provision, which incentivized Americans to purchase healthcare plans by taxing those who refused. That tax, which Trump referred to as the “core of disastrous Obamacare,” was eliminated last year as part of the GOP tax overhaul.
According to Congress, the individual mandate is “essential to creating effective health insurance markets.” The absence of the mandate “would undercut Federal regulation of the health insurance market.”
In other words, Obamacare does not work without the individual mandate.
In a 2012 ruling upholding the ACA, the Supreme Court described the individual mandate as a “valid exercise of taxing powers” and confirmed that the individual mandate is “not severable from the rest of the ACA.”
Last year’s tax overhaul “eliminated the tax penalty of the ACA, without eliminating the mandate itself. What remains…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 lawsuit.
What this means is that the reasoning by which the Supreme Court upheld the ACA no longer exists. Under the court’s own reasoning, the Affordable Care Act is no longer constitutional.
“There’s no more justification for government stepping in and ordering citizens to purchase a product that doesn’t meet their needs,” explains Henneke. “The entire framework of the ACA is built on principle – compelling individuals to buy these insurance plans, which aren’t working.”
But the main reason we need to get rid of Obamacare is the simple fact that it isn’t working. The plans available do not fit Americans’ needs, and without the individual mandate, there aren’t nearly enough people signed up for the system to work.
“Costs are increasing while access to healthcare is decreasing. Premiums and deductibles rise, while more and more doctors and hospitals decline to accept these plans.”
â€¨Everyone knows the system is broken. In the 2016 elections, both parties campaigned on promises to either fix or dismantle the law.
The real goal here, insists Henneke, is to take the federal government out of healthcare. Leave it up to the states, so California can have its universal healthcare system, while the rest of us (with reasonable regulations) “can adopt plans that allow for free market competition and choice for doctors and patients – and therefore better outcomes.”
The 20-state lawsuit against Obamacare was filed this Monday by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel (R).