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Brnovich praises ruling striking down all of ACA, including pre-existing condition coverage

By: - December 18, 2018 11:21 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

Yesterday, we noted that Brnovich did not respond to the Mirror’s request for comment on the ruling by a federal judge that the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, most commonly known as Obamacare, was unconstitutional. Arizona was a plaintiff in the suit because Brnovich joined Texas and 18 other states in filing it.

The result of the ruling, if it survives appeal, would be to upend the health insurance market and remove programs and provisions that allow tens of millions of Americans and millions of Arizonans to have substantial insurance coverage for medical costs. Among them are requirements that insurance companies can’t deny or charge people more for pre-existing conditions, subsidies for people to buy health insurance and funding for states to expand Medicaid to include more low-income people, including children and those who are older.

In a written statement provided this morning, Brnovich praised the ruling by a judge in a Texas district court.

“Americans have seen their premiums skyrocket since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. The whole plan was deceptive, ineffective and eventually unconstitutional,” he said. “Congress must now implement a program that will really allow Americans to secure coverage for new and pre-existing medical conditions.”

The overwhelming consensus from legal observers, whether liberal or conservative, is that the ruling by Judge Reed O’Connor is unlikely to withstand appeal. The lawsuit argued that, because Congress in 2017 removed the financial penalty for individuals who did not comply with the mandate to purchase health insurance, the entire 900-page law is invalidated and unconstitutional.

In a New York Times op-ed, conservative law professor Jonathan Adler and liberal law professor Abbe Gluck argued that O’Connor’s ruling, and the argument made by Arizona and the other states, is “beyond the pale.” In another op-ed, the pair called the ruling “shocking” and said it is essentially lawless.

“(T)he opinion by Judge Reed O’Connor is an exercise of raw judicial power, unmoored from the relevant doctrines concerning when judges may strike down a whole law because of a single alleged legal infirmity buried within,” Adler and Gluck wrote.

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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.