Massive blow to the Obama administration highlights its flaws
A Texas Attorney who was on the front line leading a five-state coalition suing the federal government in an Obamacare lawsuit has won $839 million in damages.
Attorney General Ken Paxton lawsuit is a massive blow to the Obama administration is set to highlight the flaws in the legislation, something Donald Trump was ridiculed by the mainstream media for repeatedly calling out.
The Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare) requires medical providers to pay a Health Insurance Provider Fee (HIPF) despite the states being exempt from paying that fee.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) then created a regulation that required states to pay the fee anyway.
Paxton, along with Indiana, Nebraska, Kansas, and Louisiana, sued the federal court arguing that the tax/fee is illegal under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) because of the ACA exempting states from making the payment.
According to Breitbart: Judge Reed O’Connor of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas agreed on the statutory issue (the APA claim), striking down the Obama HHS rule because it violates the plain language of the ACA law.
O’Connor ordered the federal government to pay Texas the $305 million that the Lone Star State had paid in HIPF fees, as well as the fees of the other states, for a total of $839 million.
“Obamacare is unconstitutional, plain and simple,” Paxton said after Thursday’s ruling. “We all know that the feds cannot tax the states, and we’re proud to return this illegally collected money to the people of Texas.”
Having struck down the HIPF tax on statutory grounds, the court did not even need to reach the constitutional claim. Under the doctrine of constitutional avoidance, federal courts are supposed to issue constitutional rulings only if there is no lesser law upon which to grant plaintiffs the relief they seek.
There is no reason to doubt that the states would have won on their constitutional argument if necessary, however, because the federal government cannot tax states under the Tenth Amendment’s intergovernmental tax immunity doctrine.
Surprisingly, it appears that Texas media are ignoring this monumental win for the Lone Star State and the other states also. There has been scant national coverage, as well.
The media silence is all the more unusual because of the national political implications of this court decision.
In addition to being an important victory for the states in question, Thursday’s ruling supports President Trump’s contention that parts of Obamacare are illegal and should be repealed; a decision will become even more important if it goes up on appeal, until it reaches the point that even the most biased media outlets cannot ignore it.
The case is Texas v. United States, No. 7:15-cv-151, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.