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February 08, 2019 - Image 2

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily

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Michigan
is
joining
a
coalition of 17 Democratic
attorneys
general
fighting
to appeal a Texas district
court
decision
that
ruled
the
Affordable
Care
Act
unconstitutional.

In
her
announcement,
Michigan Attorney General
Dana Nessel said Michigan has
a strong interest in protecting
the Affordable Care Act.

“The
Affordable
Care
Act
provides
important
protections

including
protecting people with pre-
existing
conditions

and
access to health care for
hundreds of thousands of
residents in Michigan,” Nessel
wrote.
Nessel’s decision to join
the lawsuit came in light of
her
decision
to
withdraw
Michigan from eight lawsuits
former Attorney General Bill
Schuette entered the state in.

The
lawsuit
seeks
to
overrule a decision made in
December brought forth by 18

Republican attorneys general
and
two
GOP
governors.
The
lawsuit
struck
down
the entire Affordable Care
Act on the basis that its
mandate
requiring
people
to buy health insurance was
unconstitutional.
President
Donald
Trump’s
tax
plan
eliminated
the
individual
mandate last year.
Peter Jacobson, health law
and policy professor, said he
expects the Texas decision
to be overruled, meaning a
victory for the Democratic
attorneys general.
“I suspect that the Fifth
Circuit Court of Appeals will
overturn the judge’s decision
even though it’s a conservative
court,” Jacobson said. “I think
that the legal arguments that
Texas and its supporters are
making are not compelling.
The particular challenge in
the Texas case has always
struck me as being more about
politics than law.”

The
expansive
health
care coverage has generally
seen bipartisan support from
Michigan.
Not
long
after

the Affordable Care Act was
originally
passed,
former
Gov. Rick Snyder passed a
controversial
expansion
of
Medicaid,
voicing
support
for getting more Michigan
residents covered. Jacobson
agreed the Affordable Care Act
has been generally beneficial
for Michigan residents, citing
research from the University
of
Michigan’s
Center
for
Health
and
Research
Transformation.
“We have fewer people
lacking
health
insurance
and the state has benefited
economically,” Jacobson said.
“Studies from the University
show that the state has spent
less money than anticipated
and the availability of health
insurance
has
actually
improved
the
economy.
As
a
result,
Michigan’s
involvement (in the lawsuit)
is really an investment in
maintaining those benefits.”

LSA
sophomore
Dylan
Berger,
president
of
the
University’s
Chapter
of
College
Republicans,
said
although
he
believes
the
Affordable Care Act has
many shortcomings that
Michigan needs to address,
the law should not be
challenged in court.
“Since
its
passage,
insurance
costs
and
deductibles have increased
for most Americans while
quality
has
worsened,”
Berger,
who
is
also
a
columnist for The Daily,
said. “In the meantime,
however, the Affordable
Care Act is the law of
the
land
and
shouldn’t
be challenged in court.
Without a well thought
out
replacement
plan,
repealing the Affordable
Care
Act
would
be
disastrous.”
Law School professor
Nicholas
Bagley,
a
prominent
Affordable
Care
Act
researcher,
said
attorneys
general
normally wouldn’t have to
worry about defending a
congressional statute ––
such a task is the job of the
U.S. Justice Department.
But because the Justice

Department hasn’t taken a
stand on the legality of the
Affordable Care Act, Bagley
said states were forced to step
in.
“The Trump administration
made the politically motivated
decision not to defend the law,
even though the case against
the ACA’s constitutionality
is really weak,” Bagley said.
“Because
the
law
would
otherwise lack someone to
defend it, California and a
group of blue states intervened
in the lawsuit. And they’ve
now
appealed
the
Texas
district court’s decision.”
However, Bagley said the
involvement of Michigan in
the lawsuit won’t likely have
large ramifications.
“Attorney General Nessel
wants to signal her support for
the law’s defenders,” Baglesy
said. “It won’t make much
of a practical difference. The
other blue states are already
involved
in
the
lawsuit,
whether Michigan jumps in or
not, but it’s putting Michigan
firmly on the side of the ACA’s
supporters.”

Public
Policy
senior
Kellie
Lounds,
chair
of
the University’s chapter of
College Democrats, is among
such supporters, and said she
is grateful for an attorney
general who will protect the
Affordable Care Act.
“We (College Democrats)
are thrilled to have an attorney
general
who’s
actually
acting in the best interest of
Michigan residents,” Lounds
said.
However, the fight to
appeal the Texas decision
will not surely end in victory
for
Democrats,
in
which
case the Affordable Care Act
would be brought before the
Supreme Court for the third
time. Although the newly
constituted Supreme Court
now has five conservative
justices, Jacobson said he
is still confident the Texas
decision would be appealed.
“I’m dubious that Chief
Justice Roberts would uphold
the Texas law,” Jacobson said.
“I think that the political
fallout to the court would be
damaging.”

2 — Friday, February 8, 2019
The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
News

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QUOTE OF THE WE E K


I’ve charged the commission with designing long-
term, comprehensive measures — beacause the problem
of climate change is much too large and complex for
simple solutions or interim fixes.”

University President Mark Schlissel in his announcement of the President’s Commission on Carbon Neutrality

Michigan Attorney General participates
in coalition to support Affordable Care Act
17 Democratic attorneys general fight to appeal Texas district court decision

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