Attorney General Ken Paxton applauded a U.S. District Court decision declaring unconstitutional the federal government’s Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.
In February, Attorney General Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel led a 20-state coalition 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.
“Today’s ruling halts an unconstitutional exertion of federal power over the American healthcare system,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Our lawsuit seeks to effectively repeal Obamacare, which will give President Trump and Congress the opportunity to replace the failed social experiment with a plan that ensures Texans and all Americans will again have greater choice about what health coverage they need and who will be their doctor.”
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.
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. Around 70 percent of U.S. counties present citizens with a noncompetitive situation, having only one or two health insurers.
Last June, the U.S. Department of Justice conceded in court filings that Obamacare’s individual mandate is unconstitutional and asked a federal judge to strike it down along with other central provisions of Obamacare before the tax law takes effect on January 1, 2019.
Texas and Wisconsin were 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.