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Kentucky AG Fighting Federal Lawsuit Aimed At Ending Affordable Care Act

Josh James

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. The Democrat argues the suit could strip the state of nearly $50 billion in federal funding for its Medicaid expansion over the next decade.

Beshear and his counterparts in 15 other states object to a suit filed in Texas federal court in February – which argues the ACA became unconstitutional after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 effectively eliminated the individual mandate to buy health insurance.

The state’s top lawyer says the commonwealth stands to lose $49.7 billion in federal funding for expanded Medicaid and subsidies for those who purchase insurance on the individual market through 2028. In a statement, Beshear warns the suit puts the coverage of hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians and critical assistance for drug treatment at risk.

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the mandate penalty in 2012, labeling it a tax that Congress had the power to levy. But proponents of the suit say the tax bill signed by President Trump invalidated the mandate and with it the entire law.

The insurance penalty remains in effect this year, but will be zeroed out starting in 2019.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.