Democratic State Lawmakers Denounce Court's Ruling Declaring Part Of ACA Unconstitutional

Dec 20, 2019

Democratic state lawmakers in Maine are denouncing a federal appeals court decision Wednesday upholding a lower court ruling that found the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate unconstitutional.

But whether that means the entire law is unconstitutional remains unclear. A lower court is being asked to reconsider that question. 

Democratic state Sen. Heather Sanborn says if the ACA is struck down, it would have dire consequences for Mainers.

"Things like MaineCare [Medicaid] expansion, which we have fought so hard for here in the state of Maine and have finally started to roll out and cover poor Mainers who are in desperate need of being able to afford health insurance."

Sanborn says it would also strip tax credits that Mainers rely on to purchase insurance on the individual market.

Democratic state Rep. Thom Harnett says Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins paved the way for the lawsuit that challenges the ACA when she cast a deciding vote in support of the 2017 Congressional tax bill.

“So while this is a horrible day for our nation, it is particularly troubling for Maine and its residents given the fact that it was our senator who chose to side with the wealthiest and those getting tax cuts, instead of Mainers who need health care,” he says.

A spokesman for Collins’ campaign says the criticism against her is a distortion of the court ruling. Kevin Kelley says the individual mandate penalized low-income Americans who can’t afford health insurance, and that Collins believes government should defend the ACA, which currently remains in place.

Originally published Dec. 20, 2019 at 9:16 a.m. ET.