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Analysis

AGs File Petition with SCOTUS for Expedited ACA Review

By John Commins  
   January 03, 2020

Defenders of the ACA say the stakes are too high to allow the suit to ping-pong between the district and appeals courts.

A coalition of attorneys general defending the Affordable Care Act have asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an expedited review of the Fifth Circuit Court's ruling last month that sent Texas v. U.S. back to the trial judge.

"We're asking the Supreme Court to swiftly resolve this repeal lawsuit for the sake of saving lives and ending uncertainty in our healthcare system," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a media release.

In a 2–1 decision December 18, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the trial court that the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional, but it sent the rest of the expansive law back to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas for a more detailed analysis of which ACA provisions, if any, should be severed from the mandate and upheld.

Rather than cueing up an expected showdown before the Supreme Court, the appellate decision calls for another round of complex litigation that could again be appealed to the Fifth Circuit.

Led by California, the coalition of 20 states and the District of Columbia have said the stakes are too high to allow the case to ping pong between the district and appeals courts. On Friday they filed the petition asking SCOTUS to take the case before the end of the court's current term in June.

"This ruling jeopardizes the health care coverage of millions of Americans who depend on the Affordable Care Act," said Massachusetts AG Maura Healey. "We are asking the Supreme Court to review the Fifth Circuit's decision and quickly resolve the uncertainty it has caused for our families and our health care system."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called an expedited review by the Supreme Court "premature."

"The Fifth Circuit agreed with our commonsense argument that the individual mandate is unconstitutional," Paxton said. "It remanded the case to the district court to determine whether any portion of Obamacare remains valid in light of the unconstitutionality of the mandate at the heart of the law."

"The Fifth Circuit has ordered the case back to district court, so that's where we're headed. We intend to demonstrate in district court that Obamacare is invalid in its entirety," he said.

“We're asking the Supreme Court to swiftly resolve this repeal lawsuit for the sake of saving lives and ending uncertainty in our healthcare system.”

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.


KEY TAKEAWAYS

A coalition of 20 states and the District of Columbia has filed a petition asking SCOTUS to take the Texas v. U.S. before the end of the court's current term in June.

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in December agreed with the trial court that the ACA's individual mandate is unconstitutional.

The appellate court sent the rest of the expansive law back to the trial court in Texas for a more detailed analysis of which ACA provisions, if any, should be severed from the mandate and upheld.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called an expedited review by the Supreme Court 'premature.'


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