After trying and failing twice last year to overturn the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Republican leaders are turning once again to the courts.
GOP representatives from twenty states have joined together to sue the U.S. government, claiming the health care law is unconstitutional.
Republicans made this argument once before, stating that the individual mandate for consumers to buy health insurance is unconstitutional. But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law, finding that the fine consumers faced for not buying insurance was actually a tax.
Last year, the Trump Administration removed the fine for not buying health insurance, so Republicans argue that the removal of the threat of that "tax" now makes the law unconstitutional.
Removing the fine a key issue
According to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, the high court pinned its Obamacare ruling on the "tax." Now that the provision has been removed, Paxton says the law doesn't meet the constitutional standard.
“Obamacare’s irrational design wreaks havoc on health insurance markets,” said Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel. “Obamacare causes premiums to rise and coverage to fall, forcing Wisconsin and other states to take extreme, costly measures to protect their citizens’ health and pocketbooks."
The National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) brought the original court challenge to Obamacare in 2012. While the Constitution does not allow Congress to force individuals to purchase a product, the court narrowly interpreted the penalty for not purchasing health insurance as a tax, which Congress is authorized to levy.
Senate refused to repeal
The GOP-led House had no difficulty passing legislation last year that repealed Obamacare, but the measure faced obstacles in the Senate, where Republicans held only a two seat advantage. A handful of Republican lawmakers balked at repealing a law that resulted in more consumers being covered by health insurance.
The final attempt failed in late July when Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was battling cancer, dramatically returned to the capital to cast a deciding vote to allow a vote on the Senate's latest effort -- a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
But on Twitter, McCain made clear he was only voting to allow debate on the GOP bill. He wasn't going to support the measure itself.
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