On Oct. 22 Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas has filed suit against the federal government over a regulation forcing states to effectively pay an unconstitutional to fund the Affordable Care Act.
According to a press release, the law coercively threatens to choke off Medicaid funds for the health needs of millions of Texas citizens, including over 350,000 children, unless Texas taxpayers pay hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for Obamacare.
“This threat to cut Medicaid funding to Texans unless the state continues to pay hundreds of millions in taxes to Washington amounts to the very ‘gun to the head’ the Supreme Court warned about in earlier rulings on Obamacare,” said Paxton.
“Not only is the federal government threatening the health care needs of millions of Texans, but it is doing so using Texans’ own money, collected from them through taxes. This represents yet another huge overstep of authority for this administration, which once again has demonstrated their willingness to circumvent the Constitution in order to achieve their policy goals.”
The rule by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services allows a private entity, the Actuarial Standards Board, to determine that Medicaid insurance rates must include a Health Insurance Providers Fee, which is functionally, according the suit, an unconstitutional tax on the states in order to fund the insolvent Obamacare mandate.
The press release states the law effectively robs the tax coffers of the citizens of Texas. The unwarranted tax on the citizens of Texas was $86 million in 2013, and around $120 million a year since.
The state is arguing that the tax is unconstitutional for four reasons:
- The U.S. Constitution requires that state officials “clearly understand” what conditions the State is agreeing to when accepting federal funds. Yet, the Obamacare legislation is completely silent as to whether state taxpayers must pony up to pay for Obamacare or risk losing necessary Medicaid and CHIP funds. The federal government contrived this new scheme, and the states were recently required to pay;
- It represents coercion, which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled was not allowed in the first Obamacare decision, NFIB v. Sebelius. In that ruling, the Supreme Court held that threatening a percentage of a state’s budget unless it agreed to expand Medicaid was coercion. This same funding is at risk again if states refuse to pay the tax;
- It delegated the duties of Congress to a private entity, which violates the delegation doctrine prohibiting private entities from exercising legislative authority; and
- The new regulation represents a tax on the states, so it violates the constitutional doctrine prohibiting the taxation of a sovereign state.
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Texas, Wichita Falls Division.