News & Perspectives

Twenty state attorneys general file federal lawsuit claiming elimination of mandate penalty renders the Affordable Care Act (ACA) unconstitutional

2. March 2018 Sam Fish Health

On Monday, February 26, 2018, twenty states, led by the attorneys general of Texas and Wisconsin, sued officials of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), alleging that the law revoking the penalty aspect of the ACA’s individual mandate rendered the entire ACA unconstitutional.  The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. 

The crux of the allegations is that since the decision of the U. S. Supreme Court in 2012 upholding the constitutionality of the mandate was based upon Congress’ taxing authority, the elimination of the penalty provision of the mandate by statute rendered the mandate unconstitutional as well as the entire ACA. 

Questions arise as to the reaction of the Justice Department to the lawsuit and whether preliminary issues of legal standing and other jurisdictional matters will be addressed.