Wisconsin Attorney General Leading Federal Lawsuit Against ACA

Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel is leading a multi-state legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act.

Schimel and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the lawsuit Monday in a federal court in northern Texas. The lawsuit represents 20 states, including Wisconsin.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the health care law in 2012, ruling the penalty on individuals without health coverage was a tax and allowed under the Constitution.

But Schimel said that legal foundation no longer applies.

“In the tax relief bill, the Congress eliminated the tax penalty,” he said. “So that left the individual mandate hanging out there all by itself.”

The lawsuit argues the entire law should now be struck down.

“The Obama administration lawyers argued during the course of the case in 2012 in the Supreme Court that without the individual mandate, the rest of it doesn’t stand,” Schimel said. “Now that the tax penalty’s gone, the individual mandate can’t stand, which means the rest of it can’t stand.”

Walker spokeswoman Amy Hasenberg told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Walker authorized the lawsuit “because it questions the constitutionality of Obamacare.”

But she added that “as long as (the ACA) remains, Wisconsin will work within the confines of that law to help Wisconsin families.”

Critics said overturning the law would hurt Wisconsin residents.

Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse said in a statement that, if successful, the lawsuit “could take health insurance away from 416,600 Wisconsinites, raise premiums, and end the Medicaid expansion, which has been critical for combating the opioid epidemic and keeping rural hospitals afloat.”