The Administration has revived its assault on the ACA when, on Thursday, June 7, the Justice Department said it would not defend the Act against a lawsuit by some conservative states that are once again seeking to have the law declared unconstitutional. This comes against a backdrop of some other states, or at least their voters, attempting to expand health care access through the Medicaid optional expansion.
The situation holds a number of political risks. If the lawsuit is successful based on the argument that Congress has undercut the original Supreme Court ruling by eliminating the tax on people who do not buy insurance, it will also eliminate the protection that prevents insurers from denying coverage of a pre-existing health condition.
That is something Republicans in Congress they say they like about the ACA. As a result they are not speaking in support of the Administrative ion’s passive aggressive action to simply not defend the law.
The action by the Administration also coincides with progress in expanding health care coverage through Medicaid. Virginia, after last fall’s legislative elections, approved an expansion of Medicaid. At the same time Maine voters won a victory when a court ruled that the governor of that state must expand Medicaid under a voter-approved initiative last fall. Governor LePage says he will appeal that court directive.
While Maine voters were fighting to have their voter initiative enforced, it looks as if a similar ballot question for Medicaid expansion will be on the ballot in Utah, Nebraska and Idaho. The Utah and Idaho proposals easily exceeded the number of signatures required to get a vote on the ballot.