Brnovich successful in ruling against Affordable Care Act

By: - December 17, 2018 10:19 am

Attorney General Mark Brnovich speaking at the 2016 Leadership Series with the Arizona Cardinals hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry in August 2016. Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich prevailed in court late Friday, when a federal judge in Texas struck down the entire Affordable Care Act, saying that its mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance is unconstitutional.

Brnovich made Arizona a plaintiff in the case, Texas v. United States, when he joined with 17 other Republican state attorneys general and two Republican governors in challenging the constitutionality of the individual mandate.

Brnovich’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the ruling, or on the 155,000 Arizonans who have purchased plans through the Affordable Care Act marketplaces and stand to lost them because of the ruling. Additionally, every Arizonan with health insurance is covered for pre-existing conditions because of ACA requirements, and the ruling would allow insurance companies to begin denying coverage or increasing the cost for pre-existing conditions.

In his ruling, Judge Reed O’Connor said the tax-reform bill passed by Congress in December 2017 rendered the entire ACA, often referred to as Obamacare, unconstitutional.

The 16 Democratic attorneys general who intervened to defend the law pledged to appeal it, and many legal analysts say that O’Connor’s ruling is almost certain to be struck down on appeal because it uses a 2017 change to one small part of the massive Affordable Care Act to effectively repeal the entire law – something Congress could have done, but didn’t.

“Congress amended one provision of a 2,000 page law and did not touch the rest of the law so it is implausible to believe that Congress intended the rest of the law not to exist,” Abbe Gluck, a health law expert at Yale Law School who filed a brief supporting the ACA in this case, told The New York Times.

Conservative legal experts also were critical of O’Connor’s decision. Ted Frank, a lawyer at the Competitive Enterprise Institute who is critical of the ACA, told The Washington Post the decision is “embarrassingly bad” because “you’re twisting yourself into knots” to reach a particular conclusion.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Jim Small
Jim Small

Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications. He has also served as the editor and executive director of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting.