Affordable Care Act is a 'federal outreach,' Landry says

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The law was enacted in 2010 when the Democrats last held control of both houses.

The case could end up being decided by the Supreme Court, which on two prior occasions has issued decisions that kept much of Obamacare intact. Thursday's filing continues the coalition's legal defense of the ACA, with a request to appeal the district court's December 14 opinion in the Fifth Circuit. A Texas-led coalition of 20 states kicked the process off almost a year ago by suing the federal government to kill the law; after the Justice Department sided partially with Texas, the California-led coalition of states stepped in to defend Obamacare in court. The tax cut legislation passed by the Republican Congress and signed by President Donald Trump in 2017 reduced that tax penalty to zero. But California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading the opponents to the decision, and other coalition members heaped barbed words on the ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor, contending that his opinion is "reckless", "ludicrous" and based on a legal theory that is "flimsy", as various attorneys general put it.

The Justice Department, which traditionally defends federal law, is not fighting the lawsuit because of the Trump administration's hostility to the law.

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At the same time, however, the House's lawyers notified Judge O'Connor that they will also move to join the appeal as soon as it is formally filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. "That is why so many of us are committed to defending the ACA".

"Take a look at the amicus briefs that have been filed already in this case", Becerra said, citing support form provider and consumer advocacy groups.

"Our goal is simple: to stand up for the law of the land - the Affordable Care Act - in order to keep healthcare affordable and accessible for millions of Americans", Becerra said.

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He said Judge O'Connor's ruling was "erroneous, that it would be detrimental and it would dismantle the lives and health care of so many people in this country".

The case involves a lawsuit filed a year ago by almost a score of Republican attorneys general, who argued that without the penalty the ACA's insurance mandate was no longer constitutional because it no longer grew out of Congress' taxing authority.

Serr said growth in the state's population could be fueling the increase in insurance enrollment, as well as an increasing familiarity with Obamacare plans and among consumers.

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Rosenblum emphasized the separation of powers between the court case and congressional action, but said the attorneys general look forward to checking in with the newly elected Congress. Obamacare will stay in effect as the appeals process begins, with changes being made if the ruling is upheld.