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Washington Joining Suit To Protect ACA

Washington AG Office

The State of Washington is entering the fray in the legal battle over the future of the Affordable Care Act.

Last Friday a federal Judge in Texas ruled that what is known as the Individual Mandate of the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional, and thus, what has come to be known as Obamacare, was invalid.

Now the state of Washington is joining several other states with Democratic Attorneys General to defend the law, against the legal challenge that was originally brought by states represented by Republican Attorneys General.

Washington AG Bob Ferguson explains that’s in part because the trump administration refused to allow the administration’s Justice Department defend the ACA.

“We speak on behalf of the millions of constituents who we represent in the 16 states who are now intervening to defend the fordable care Act, or Obamacare.
But that is an unusual posture for us, people usually read about me challenging the administration, this is different in that we are standing in the shoes of the administration to defend a federal law,” he said.

At this juncture, Ferguson says they are asking the Texas judge to make clear the impacts of his recent ruling.

“In other words it matters a great deal whether this order has a nationwide impact, does it go into immediate effect, declaring the Affordable care act to be unconstitutional, or is he reserving that judgement till he finishes the case, there are other arguments ongoing that we haven’t got to yet. So we’re seeking some clarity because we want to make sure were defending the many hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians who are benefitting from the affordable care act, and want to make sure they are not in jeopardy with their health care coverage,” he said.

Ferguson says he expects the word could come fairly soon if an appeal is granted, and the case will then be heard by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. He says they are already preparing their case for another appeal to the Supreme Court if the Fifth Circuit case is unsuccessful.

Ferguson points to the fact the Supreme Court has already upheld ACA as lawful, and feels they will do so with this challenge as well.

“That is why even conservative legal scholars have questioned this judge’s decision in Texas, and have said there is no way this is going to withhold legal scrutiny by the appellate courts or the United States Supreme Court,” he said. 

Bob Ferguson says he thinks an appeal could be granted by the end of the month.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.