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RELEASE: 539 Legislators from All 50 States to SCOTUS: Medicaid Expansion in ACA is Constitutional

02/21/2012

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

CONTACTS: Progressive States Network: Charles Monaco, Director of Communications and New Media, cmonaco@progressivestates.org
Constitutional Accountability Center: Doug Pennington, Press Secretary, pennington@theusconstitution.org
 

539 Legislators from All 50 States to Supreme Court: Medicaid Expansion in Affordable Care Act is Clearly Constitutional

National Group of State Legislators files Amicus Brief urging Supreme Court to uphold Affordable Care Act against lawsuit brought by state Attorneys General.

New York, NY – Hundreds of state legislators from every state in the nation continue to send a clear message to the Supreme Court: state Attorneys General seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act through the courts are not the only ones who speak for the states.

In an Amicus Brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court, 539 state lawmakers from all 50 states (as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia) voiced their strong support for the constitutionality of the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it clearly respects the federal-state partnership on health care and that any attempt to reverse the law “belongs in the political arena, not in the courts.”

“The decision State leaders face is clear: whether to take steps to implement the Act’s expansion of Medicaid and work in partnership with the federal government to provide better health care for State residents, or to opt out of Medicaid altogether,” argue the legislators in the brief.

The Amicus Brief was signed by legislators working with the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform, a national group of state legislators focused on advancing health reform at the state level, in conjunction with the Constitutional Accountability Center and Progressive States Network.

“Legislators across the country implementing this law need to move forward without fear of partisan constitutional challenges against the Affordable Care Act,” said Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Washington, Chair of the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform. “The expansion of Medicaid is a national solution to a national problem that preserves the federal-state partnership and allows us as legislators to craft the right policies for our constituents, helping millions of Americans receive coverage.”

"The Medicaid challenges to health care reform have less to do with the Constitution than with an attempt to receive a judicial ‘do-over’ – trying to get from the Supreme Court what the law’s critics couldn't get from Congress," said Constitutional Accountability Center Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra. "Challengers claim to represent the people of their respective States and the interests of the States in general in this case, but more than 500 state legislators from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia strongly disagree. They believe the Constitution’s text and history show the Medicaid expansion is fully within Congress’s powers and is consistent with the best traditions of America’s federalist system.”

In the brief, filed Friday, the legislators underscore how the Affordable Care Act promises to assist their states and their constituents, arguing that “health care reform was imperative for Americans, as well as for their State and local governments,” and that “expanding Medicaid is perhaps the most significant way to extend access to quality, affordable health care.”

The outpouring of support for this key provision of health care reform comes as political attacks against Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act have made their way to the Supreme Court, which is set to hear arguments in the case this spring. It also comes one month after over 500 state legislators representing all 50 states filed an Amicus Brief defending another provision of the Affordable Care Act - the minimum coverage provision - currently being challenged by opponents of the Affordable Care Act.

The full text of the Amicus Brief as filed and a full list of signers is available here:

http://progressivestates.org/sync/pdfs/StateLegislatorsMedicaidBrief.pdf

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About the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform:

The Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform is a national group of state legislators focused on advancing health reform at the state level including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

About Progressive States Network:

Progressive States Network (www.progressivestates.org) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the work of progressive state legislators around the country and to the advancement of state policies that deliver on issues the issues that matter to working families: strong wage standards and workplace freedom, balancing work and family responsibilities, health care for all, smart growth and clean energy, tax and budget reform, clean and fair elections, and technology investments to bridge the digital divide.

About Constitutional Accountability Center:

Constitutional Accountability Center (www.theusconstitution.org) is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution's text and history.

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