2018 News Releases

AG Derek Schmidt: Tax-law change makes ACA individual mandate unconstitutional

Release Date: Feb 27, 2018

TOPEKA – (February 27, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt yesterday joined a 20-state coalition urging a federal district court in Texas to declare the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate unconstitutional because Congress repealed the tax penalty associated with it.

In NFIB v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 narrowly upheld the core provision of the ACA – the individual mandate to buy insurance – as a “tax” because of the financial penalty imposed for failing to have the mandated coverage.

But in December 2017, Congress repealed this tax, while leaving just the raw mandate in place. Since the Supreme Court has already held that Congress has no authority to impose the mandate on Americans without invoking its taxing authority, the ACA – sometimes called 'Obamacare' - should now be ruled unconstitutional, the states argue.

“In 2012, the Supreme Court left the Obamacare mandate hanging by the thinnest of legal threads,” Schmidt said. “We think Congress snipped that thread in the tax reform bill.” 

Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer supported the new legal challenge to Obamacare.

“The legal and policy failures of Obamacare are well known, and I am pleased that Kansas is joining this new effort to expose them,” said Governor Colyer. 

In addition to Kansas, the other states joining the Texas and Wisconsin-led suit are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and West Virginia.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Texas in Fort Worth, is Texas v. United States. A copy of the lawsuit is available at http://bit.ly/2CmUHXg.


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News releases issued prior to 2011 are available through an archive hosted by the Kansas State Library.