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Tipsheet

Here's How Democrats Are Attempting to Save What's Left of Obamacare

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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) – commonly referred to as "Obamacare" – is in the dumps. A federal court of appeals ruled the ACA's "individual mandate," which requires each American to have health insurance otherwise he or she has to pay a fine, is unconstitutional.

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A coalition comprised of Democrat-controlled states on Friday appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, asking the high court to hear the case before the end of its term in June, the Daily Caller reported. 

"The court of appeal's decision warrants immediate review. This Court normally grants certiorari when a lower court has invalidated a federal statutory provision on constitutional grounds, and that customary approach is especially appropriate here," the petition reads. "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. States, health insurers, and millions of Americans rely on those provisions when making important – indeed, life-changing – decisions."

The coalition argues that waiting for a decision would "prolong and exacerbate the uncertainty" that has been caused as a result of the on-going lawsuits.

“The lower courts have struck down a federal statutory provision on constitutional grounds and cast doubt on the validity of the entire ACA, arguably the most consequential package of legislative reforms of this century. That uncertainty threatens adverse consequences for patients, providers, and insurers nationwide," the petition states. “Under these circumstances, this Court should grant immediate review and resolve the case this Term,” it adds.

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Congressional Democrats also filed a similar yet separate petition.

"Paralyzing uncertainty now hangs over the ACA. Millions of Americans who rely on it for health coverage will not be able to make important life decisions about what jobs to take or where to live secure in the knowledge that those choices will not deprive them and their families of affordable health insurance," House Democrats' petition states. "Insurance companies will not know whether or not to invest in providing insurance on ACA exchanges, and at a minimum will have to raise insurance rates to account for the risks of market upheaval if the ACA is struck down."

"States must live with, and plan for, the possibility that they will lose billions of dollars in Medicaid subsidies and the individual insurance markets in their states will be thrown into chaos if the ACA is entirely invalidated," the petition states.

After the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017, Republicans challenged the individual mandate requirement. Their argument was simple: the Supreme Court gave the green light to the mandate in 2012, saying the fine was part of Congress' power to tax. Republicans later successfully argued the fine failed to raise revenue, meaning it could no longer be justified as a necessary tax. 

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The coalition of predominantly blue states is compromised of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, the District of Columbia and Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshar.

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