Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Seeking to Preserve Obamacare

February 5, 2019 by Tom Ramstack

A decision last week by a federal judge in a Maryland lawsuit is expected to influence an appeal by other states that seek to protect their health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act.

The state of Maryland filed a lawsuit in September to protect its version of the Affordable Care Act as Republicans tried to get rid of the federal law.

They filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Texas, where the law has been disfavored by residents and politicians.

A Texas judge ruled in December that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional because the individual mandate penalty that Congress repealed rendered the law ineffective. The ruling is being appealed.

The original legislation approved during the Obama administration imposes a tax penalty on anyone who does not purchase health insurance approved under guidelines of the Act. The penalty is known as the individual mandate.

The Supreme Court initially upheld the mandate under the congressional taxing authority.

However, Congressional Republicans succeeded in 2017 in overriding the Supreme Court decision. They voted to eliminate the mandate beginning this year, which gutted the effectiveness of the entire Affordable Care Act.

Maryland’s attorney general tried to argue in his lawsuit that the Affordable Care Act should continue as law even without the federal individual mandate. The Act is sometimes called Obamacare.

His lawsuit says the “health and well-being” of the state’s residents would suffer without it. He also says the state would need to spend more money to cover uncompensated health care of the uninsured population.

Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander in Baltimore dismissed Maryland’s lawsuit, saying the state lacks standing to sue. Standing refers to evidence that a party to a lawsuit will suffer significant harm if they are not allowed to proceed with their legal claim.

Hollander said the state did not present enough evidence that it would be harmed.

Regardless of whether President Donald Trump and other Republicans want to eliminate the law, Maryland has no right to sue while it still is on the books, she said.

“Neither the president’s zealous attempts to repeal the statute, nor his derisive comments about it, support an inference that he will fail to enforce the law,” Hollander wrote.

“In effect, the state proclaims that the sky is falling,” her ruling said. “But falling acorns, even several of them, do not amount to a falling sky.”

Hollander dismissed the case without prejudice, which means Maryland could file another lawsuit if circumstances change by creating a more direct threat to the state’s health insurance plan.

“We will resume this litigation immediately if the president breaks his promise of continued enforcement or when the stay of the Texas court’s decision is lifted,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement.

Lawyers for Maryland also questioned whether’s Trump appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker without Senate confirmation rendered him unauthorized to make decisions on federal law, such as the Affordable Care Act.

However, the judge rejected the argument.

U.S. Justice Department officials said they were pleased by the judge’s ruling.

The case is Maryland v. U.S. et al. in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

Health

Planned Parenthood To Stop Taking Title X Funds Rather Than Comply With Abortion ‘Gag Rule’ Civil Rights
Planned Parenthood To Stop Taking Title X Funds Rather Than Comply With Abortion ‘Gag Rule’

WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood said Monday it will withdraw from the federal Title X program that helps low-income people access contraception rather than comply with what it calls a new Trump administration “gag rule” that prohibits it from providing abortion referrals to those patients. The announcement... Read More

Where Doctors Can Recommend Marijuana to Replace Opioids Marijuana
Where Doctors Can Recommend Marijuana to Replace Opioids

DENVER — A car accident 17 years ago shattered Ashley Weber’s spine and left her confined to a wheelchair. After the accident, she said, she was prescribed strong opioids, developed an addiction to them and spent her days in a narcotic-induced mental fog. Over the past... Read More

Rural America Has a Maternal Mortality Problem. Midwives Might Help Solve It Health
Rural America Has a Maternal Mortality Problem. Midwives Might Help Solve It

HUNTINGDON, Tenn. — The sun is setting just as midwife Sheryl Shafer wraps up a long Thursday on the road visiting families in west Tennessee and Kentucky. She knows the patient on her last stop, a 21-year-old Amish woman in a two-story farmhouse without electricity, is... Read More

Majority Of Large Employers Have Concerns About 'Medicare For All' Proposals, Survey Finds Opinion Polls
Majority Of Large Employers Have Concerns About 'Medicare For All' Proposals, Survey Finds
August 20, 2019
by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON - A majority of large employers believe the Medicare for all proposals being touted by some White House aspirants would lower the number of uninsured in the United States, but at a cost of higher taxes and a decline in the quality of health care,... Read More

Health Law’s ‘Cadillac Tax’ May Finally Be Running Out Of Gas Health
Health Law’s ‘Cadillac Tax’ May Finally Be Running Out Of Gas

The politics of health care are changing. And one of the most controversial parts of the Affordable Care Act — the so-called Cadillac tax — may be about to change with it. The Cadillac tax is a 40% tax on the most generous employer-provided health insurance... Read More

Hepatitis A Races Across the Country Health
Hepatitis A Races Across the Country

AKRON, Ohio — Just before the Fourth of July, Trenton Burrell began feeling run-down and achy. Soon he could barely muster the energy to walk from one room to another. A friend shared an alarming observation: “You’re turning yellow.” Within days, the 40-year-old landed in the... Read More

Straight From The Well
scroll top