California Attorney General Xavier Becerra [official website], along with the attorneys general of 14 other states and the District of Columbia, filed a motion Monday to intervene and defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [JURIST news archive] against a challenge [text, PDF] to its constitutionality.
The suit challenging the ACA was filed in February by 20 Republican-led states, including Texas and Wisconsin, alleging that the ACA is unconstitutional [JURIST reports] after a tax law passed in December eliminates the penalty for not purchasing health insurance. Because the ACA has previously been upheld by the Supreme Court [JURIST report] under Congress’ tax power, the challengers contend that the elimination of the penalty undermines the ACA’s constitutional basis.
The Trump administration has indicated that it does not intend to defend the ACA in court. The 16 states now seek to intervene to defend the law and prevent the harm that they claim will result if the ACA is struck down, including the loss of healthcare to their populations and the federal funds the law provides to states.