ATLANTA – Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr is praising a federal appellate court decision tossing out a key provision in the Affordable Care Act.
On Wednesday, Dec. 18, the New Orleans-based Fifth Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled unconstitutional the so-called “individuate mandate” requiring most Americans to have health insurance coverage or pay a penalty.
In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court narrowly upheld the individual mandate congressional Democrats had adopted two years earlier by classifying the penalty requirement for those who don’t comply as a form of taxation. However, two members of the three-judge appellate panel declared the mandate no longer can be considered a tax because the now-Republican Congress has since abolished the penalty.
Georgia is among more than a dozen states led by Republican governors that have sued in federal court to block what is commonly referred to as Obamacare.
“Once again, the courts have agreed with what we already knew – the cornerstone of Obamacare is unconstitutional,” Carr said following the ruling. “Now, we need to get back to work and do it the right way. Congress, the states and the private sector must seize this great opportunity to fix the mess created by Obamacare and do right by the American people.”
President Donald Trump has led efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act but has been unable to get the measure through Congress.
Meanwhile, the court challenge is not over. While ruling against the individual mandate, the appellate sent the overall case back to a lower court to decide whether to uphold the law’s other provisions.
Also, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who heads a coalition of states that support the law, is vowing to appeal the New Orleans ruling to the Supreme Court.
Dave Williams is the bureau chief of the Capitol Beat News Service. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.