(The Center Square) – Wisconsin is now defending the future of the Affordable Care Act, just two short years after the state joined the lawsuit to kill it.
Attorney General Josh Kaul on Thursday filed an amicus brief in the latest lawsuit over Obamacare.
“This effort to take down the Affordable Care Act threatens to cause severe damage to public health and to undermine Wisconsinites’ financial security at a time when we should be acting to strengthen protections for both,” Kaul said.
Wisconsin joins Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania in jumping into the case California, et al., v. Texas, et al. The heart of the argument comes down to a federal court ruling that said the ACA's individual mandate with no penalty is unconstitutional. Without that individual mandate, the rest of the Affordable Care Act should fall.
Kaul, and the other states, say ending the ACA would "would harm the health care markets, state government budgets, and the health of residents in every state."
“Like the states that submitted this brief with us, Wisconsin should accept federal funding to expand Medicaid," Kaul said. "It is simply unconscionable to continue turning down federal funds and needlessly leaving tens of thousands of Wisconsinites uninsured while we’re fighting the coronavirus.”
Just two years ago, Wisconsin was one of the leading states in a lawsuit to kill the ACA.
Then-Attorney General Brad Schimel joined the attorney general of Texas in challenging the individual mandate.
"Obamacare has been a colossal failure," Schimel said in August 2018.
Kaul beat Schimel in November 2018, and the switch from attacking Obamacare to defending it began almost immediately.
Wisconsin lawmakers tried to stop the switch. The legislature passed a law in late 2018 that required their permission to withdraw from any lawsuits.
Kaul took advantage of a window in March, while that law was being challenged, to withdraw on his own.
The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear California, et al., v. Texas, et al, but has not scheduled a date for arguments in the case.