Virginia Attorney General Mark R. Herring and a coalition of 17 attorneys general yesterday filed an expedited motion to challenge Friday’s opinion in Texas v. HHS, which declared the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor wrote in his opinion Friday that “(t)he remainder of the ACA is non-severable from the individual mandate, meaning that the Act must be invalidated in whole.” O’Connor is a conservative Republican appointee who previously blocked other Obama-era policies.
The AGs’ motion seeks clarification on the impact of Friday’s decision and requests that the judge prevent any confusion about the opinion. The motion requests the court to make clear that the ACA is still the law of the land and will continue to be enforced and implemented by states, the federal government, and entities across the country unless and until an order by the court expressly states otherwise.
While Herring and his colleagues maintain that the ACA is the law of the land, Friday’s opinion has caused uncertainty in the nation’s healthcare system that could harm people across the country.
“I’m going to do everything in my power to keep this deeply flawed decision from ever taking effect,” said Herring. “The ruling leaves many unanswered questions, which is why we’re moving as quickly as possible to get this in front of an appellate court. If this decision takes effect, millions of Virginians and Americans with preexisting conditions will lose critical protections, Medicaid expansion will be under threat, and millions of Americans will suffer from reduced access and higher costs. The stake are too high to let this decision stand without a fight.”
The filing is a critical step in challenging Friday’s opinion. It requests that the court provide clarity on its opinion and confirm that it does not change the status quo. Herring has asked the court to grant an immediate stay that requires the federal government, states and all entities to continue enforcing and implementing the ACA or, alternately, to certify the opinion, so that it may be appealed to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals immediately.
“Returned health freedom”
Conservative groups like the Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom (CCHF) say the ruling “returned health freedom to Americans.’ CCHF president and co-founder Twila Brase said Obamacare has been tying the hands of doctors and compromising both care and privacy for patients since its inception in 2010.
“Citizens’ Council for Health Freedom applauds Judge Reed for recognizing that the law is unconstitutional. In fact, the Affordable Care Act has never been compliant with the rule of law under the U.S. Constitution. Enacted by former President Barack Obama and Democrats in a show of brute political force, Obamacare’s deductibles and premiums are still unaffordable for most, many who want insurance are choosing to go uninsured, and 19 new taxes and fees and the ongoing redistribution of wages are hurting the economy.”