Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel – leading a 20-state coalition – today filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction against the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
In February, the 20-state coalition filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Obamacare, explaining that Congress rendered all of Obamacare unconstitutional by doing away with the tax penalty in Obamacare’s individual mandate when it enacted President Trump’s tax overhaul.
In the motion for a preliminary injunction, the multistate coalition told the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas that an injunction against Obamacare is necessary to spare the people of Texas and the other states from the enormous financial burden caused by the individual mandate. Before Obamacare, “the states allowed individuals to determine whether to buy health insurance, established high-risk insurance pools to help individuals in ill-health, enabled cost-sharing, and instituted many other policies that Obamacare now preempts or functionally preempts,” the coalition wrote.
When the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare in 2012, a majority of the justices agreed that the provision forcing individuals to purchase health insurance was unconstitutional without the tax penalty. The commerce power, Chief Justice Roberts explained, gives Congress the power to regulate commerce, and not to compel commerce, as Obamacare does. Furthermore, Congress and the Obama administration made it clear that the individual mandate was an essential component of the law, without which the remainder of the law would not have been enacted.
“From the outset, Obamacare’s individual mandate caused countless Americans to purchase insurance they don’t need or enroll in programs that put a tremendous financial burden on Texas and other states,” Attorney General Paxton said. “The sooner Obamacare is enjoined, the better, so that states and individuals can prepare to operate freely again without the stranglehold of a failed Obama-era social experiment.”
In its current unlawful form, Obamacare still 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. Around 70 percent of U.S. counties present citizens with a noncompetitive situation, having only one or two health insurers.
Texas and Wisconsin are joined in the lawsuit against Obamacare by the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia, along with the governors of Maine and Mississippi.