Nessel joins AGs asking Supreme Court to rule on ACA after setback

By: and - January 7, 2020 3:51 pm

Attorney General Dana Nessel | Susan J. Demas

Attorney General Dana Nessel is joining attorneys general in 19 states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to resolve judicial uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

The Fifth Circuit’s ruling in December that the ACA’s individual mandate is unconstitutional could unravel the law in its entirety, something backed by the President Trump administration. The court remanded the case to District Court Judge Reed O’Connor to decide the severability issue — whether the law can stand without the individual mandate. O’Connor is the judge who ruled the individual mandate is unconstitutional.   

“The Affordable Care Act is essential to ensure that Michigan families with children under the age of 26 and those with preexisting conditions continue to be protected with health insurance,” Nessel said on Tuesday. “The Governor [Gretchen Whitmer] and I will do everything in our power to stop the efforts to derail the ACA.”

On a conference call last month with other attorneys general, Nessel said they would likely ask the Supreme Court to weigh in and resolve the “uncertainty.”

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said on that call that “no one wants to see 130 million people who have pre-existing conditions not knowing what they will have in the future. We’ll probably move very quickly as a coalition sooner than later.”

Data from the Center for American Progress, a Democratic Party-aligned think tank, estimates that 720,000 people in Michigan would lose access to health care if the ACA was repealed in its entirety.

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the ACA in a variety of other cases.

“The actions of the lower courts have cast doubt on hundreds of other statutory provisions that together regulate a substantial portion of the Nation’s economy,” the attorneys general wrote in the writ asking the high court to hear the case. “States, health insurers, and millions of Americans rely on those provisions when making important — indeed, life-changing — decisions. The remand proceedings contemplated by the panel majority would only prolong and exacerbate the uncertainty already caused by this litigation.”

In addition to Michigan, states represented in the action are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington and the District of Columbia.

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Susan J. Demas

Susan J. Demas is a 22-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQ+ people, the state budget, the economy and more. She previously served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 90 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 5,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 80 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two kids along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.

Dana Gentry
Dana Gentry

Dana Gentry is a native Las Vegan and award-winning investigative journalist for the Nevada Current. Gentry began her career in broadcasting as an intern and reporter at Channel 8, KLAS-TV. In 2001, she launched "Face to Face with Jon Ralston" and the weekly business programs In Business Las Vegas and Vegas Inc, which she co-anchored with Jeff Gillan.