AUSTIN, TX – The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has accepted an amicus curiae brief from the Texas Public Policy Foundation in Florida et al v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al, the lawsuit by 26 states – including Texas – challenging the constitutionality of the last year’s federal health care reform law.
While the main argument raised by the 26 states has been that the individual mandate violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s brief asks the Court to hold that the Medicaid expansion provisions are a commandeering of state governments for federal purposes, which is unconstitutional under the Spending Clause. The Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (ACA) included provisions requiring state governments to cover tens of millions of additional low-income individuals through the Medicaid program.
“In State legislatures across the country, from one end of the political spectrum to the other, the people’s elected representatives are resigned to the inevitability of accepting the new Medicaid ‘conditions,'” wrote Mario Loyola on behalf of the Foundation. “Because compliance is ‘in fact’ the only realistic option, the Medicaid expansion provisions of the ACA clearly ‘pass the point at which pressure turns into compulsion’. If so, they constitute a commandeering of State agencies by the federal government, and are flatly unconstitutional.”
The Foundation’s report, “Final Notice: Medicaid Crisis,” concluded the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provisions would require Texas to pay an additional $31.2 billion to $38 billion in state general revenue between 2014 and 2023. The Foundation’s report, “The Big Squeeze,” estimates that Medicaid will consume 46.6 percent of Texas’ all-funds budget in the 2014-15 biennium.
Amicus curiae is a Latin term for “friend of the court.” Persons who are not a party to a particular case may submit amicus curiae briefs with information and analysis that may help the court resolve legal issues in that case. Today is the first time in the 22-year history of the Texas Public Policy Foundation that it has authored such a brief. The appeal is scheduled for June 8.
Mario Loyola is director of the Center for Tenth Amendment Studies at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and the author of the Foundation’s amicus curiae brief.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation is a non-profit, free-market research institute based in Austin.
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