Attorney General Dana Nessel is joining attorneys general in 19 states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve judicial uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The Fifth Circuit’s ruling in December that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional could unravel the law in its entirety, something backed by the President Trump administration. The court remanded the case to District Court Judge Reed O’Connor to decide the severability issue — whether the law can stand without the individual mandate. O’Connor is the judge who ruled the individual mandate is unconstitutional.
“The Affordable Care Act is essential to ensure that Michigan families with children under the age of 26 and those with preexisting conditions continue to be protected with health insurance,” Nessel said on Tuesday. “The Governor [Gretchen Whitmer] and I will do everything in our power to stop the efforts to derail the ACA.”
On a conference call last month with other attorneys general, Nessel said they would likely ask the Supreme Court to weigh in and resolve the “uncertainty.”
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on that call that “no one wants to see 130 million people who have pre-existing conditions not knowing what they will have in the future. We’ll probably move very quickly as a coalition sooner than later.”
Data from the Center for American Progress, a Democratic Party-aligned think tank, estimates that 720,000 people in Michigan would lose access to health care if the ACA was repealed in its entirety.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the ACA in a variety of other cases.
“The actions of the lower courts have cast doubt on hundreds of other statutory provisions that together regulate a substantial portion of the Nation’s economy,” the attorneys general wrote in the writ asking the high court to hear the case. “States, health insurers, and millions of Americans rely on those provisions when making important — indeed, life-changing — decisions. The remand proceedings contemplated by the panel majority would only prolong and exacerbate the uncertainty already caused by this litigation.”
In addition to Michigan, states represented in the action are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington and the District of Columbia.