Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has joined Republican attorneys general from more than a dozen states to file another federal lawsuit challenging the legality of the Affordable Care Act, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"The only thing that has kept Obamacare alive is Congress's taxing power," Paxton told 1200 WOAI news. "Now that taxing power is gone."
Paxton says he filed the lawsuit to end Obamacare's 'grip on the nation.' Paxton pointed out that when a previous lawsuit challenging Obamacare was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2011, the justices, in a divided ruling, said the reason the national health care program was legal was it was part of the 'legitimate taxing authority exercised by Congress.'
But Paxton points out that as part of the tax cut bill approved by lawmakers in December, the Obamacare mandate, which requires that Americans hold health care coverage or pay a tax penalty, has been removed. Since that was the only connection between the Affordable Care Act and the taxing power that the Supreme Court used to uphold it in 2011, Paxton says that means the entire 'edifice is now unconstitutional.'
But Stacey Pogue of the Texas-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, says Paxton's lawsuit is really targeting low and middle income Texans.
"That is people with pre-existing conditions, people who don't have perfect health, who don't get insurance through the job, they are going to find getting health care harder and harder," she said.
But Pogue said it will be years before this lawsuit is resolved in the courts, which means people who currently rely on Obamacare don't have to worry.
"The bulk of the Affordable Care Act is still in place," she said. "There is coverage being offered through the marketplace that has comprehensive benefits."