Michigan set to join other Dem states in lawsuit to support Obamacare

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News
Dana Nessel

The state of Michigan will join more than a dozen states with Democratic attorneys general to oppose a Texas federal court ruling that found the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional.

Democratic Attorney General Dana Nessel and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Thursday that Michigan would join a group of intervening states supporting the program known as Obamacare, noting that Michigan has a “strong interest” in the success of the lawsuit.

“The Affordable Care Act provides important protections — including protecting people with pre-existing conditions — care for hundreds of thousands of residents in Michigan,” Nessel said.

If the decision from the Texas federal district court is upheld, families across Michigan will struggle to get the care they need, Whitmer said in a statement.

“Health care for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders is on the line,” Whitmer said.

U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in December ruled in favor of Republican states challenging the law, finding that when Congress repealed the tax penalty for not buying insurance in 2017 it invalidated the Affordable Care Act.

His ruling, which came at the end of the six-week open enrollment period for the 2019 Obamacare program, will likely be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Nessel signaled her intention to join the lawsuit opposing O’Connor’s ruling in December, when she tweeted: “In January, I will be joining the 17 state attorney generals defending the ACA on behalf of the 1.7 million Michiganders who have pre-existing conditions and the hundreds of thousands of our state residents who rely on the ACA for health insurance."

Shortly after the law was passed Republican former Gov. Rick Snyder pushed a Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act through the Legislature that delivered coverage to about 660,000 Michigan residents.

Republican former Attorney General Bill Schuette had challenged the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act while still attorney general, but while running for governor said the act “is the law, and it’s not going anywhere.”

Nessel's announcement Thursday came shortly after she withdrew the state from eight abortion, discrimination and religious freedom lawsuits her predecessor entered during his tenure.


(517) 371-3661