[JURIST] The state of Texas, along with Kansas and Louisiana, on Thursday filed a lawsuit [complaint] challenging the legality of the Health Insurance Providers Fee required under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [text]. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton [official website] believes [press release] that the ACA’s providers fee forces states to pay an unconstitutional tax and threatens to cut Medicaid for Texas citizens. Paxton stated in regards to his issues with the ACA fee, “[t]his threat to cut Medicaid funding to Texans unless the state continues to pay hundreds of millions in taxes to Washington amounts to the very ‘gun to the head’ the Supreme Court warned about in earlier rulings on Obamacare.” The state of Texas claims that the ACA has unconstitutionally taxed its citizens $84 million in 2013 and around $120 million to date. Paxton believes the tax is illegal citing that under the US Constitution state officials must “clearly understand” the conditions a State agrees to when receiving federal funds.
Comprehensive health care reform [JURIST backgrounder] was passed by Congress in March 2010, and recent legal challenges have reinvigorated debate. The National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) [official website] reports that between 2010 and 2015, at least 21 states enacted laws attempting to challenge or completely opt out of mandatory provisions of the ACA. In June the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] in King v. Burwell [SCOTUSblog materials] that tax credits available to those who buy health insurance through state exchanges are also available to those who buy it through the federal exchange. Last year the court ruled [JURIST report] in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby [SCOTUSblog backgrounder] that closely held corporations can deny contraceptive coverage to their employees for religious reasons.