ST. PAUL — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison on Friday, Jan. 3 announced the filing of a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal court decision that found the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate to be unconstitutional.
In filing the petition, Minnesota joins 19 other states plus Washington, D.C. in the call for a review.
At issue is a federal Fifth Circuit court decision in a case led by Texas against the federal government over the constitutionality of the ACA's controversial individual mandate, which requires U.S. citizens to either purchase health insurance or pay a fine. Attorneys general for Texas and 20 other states argued in the suit that the mandate violates the constitution and thus requires the ACA to be repealed.
In a recent split vote, the Fifth Circuit upheld a lower court ruling that found the mandate to be unconstitutional as a result of Congress's 2017 decision to lower the fine associated with it to $0. The mandate had previously been defended in a separate federal suit as a tax, according to court documents, but could no longer be considered as such if it did not generate revenue.
The Fifth Circuit declined to rule on the constitutionality of the ACA's other provisions, which have been returned to a Texas district court for review.
In a statement, Ellison called the decision "illogical and chaotic" and asked the Supreme Court to review it instead.
"Affordable, high-quality health care is a human right. It’s essential to being able to afford your life and live with dignity and respect," he said, vowing to "defend that human right."
According to Ellison's office, approximately 212,000 low-income Minnesotans whose families became eligible for Medicare through the ACA's expansion of that program could lose their coverage if the act is repealed altogether. A further 82,000 enrolled in the ACA's Basic Health program, which provides coverage for low-wage workers whose employers do not provide health insurance, could meet the same fate.
Were the act to be repealed, Ellison's office said that approximately 2.3 million Minnesotans with pre-existing conditions could see their premiums skyrocket or lose their coverage altogether.
The other states petitioning for a Supreme Court review of the decision are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.