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Bloomberg Radio New York

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Surviving two Supreme Court challenges the future of obamacare is once again in the courts as the fifth circuit court of appeals heard arguments Tuesday on whether the affordable Care Act is unconstitutional two of the three judges on the appellate panel appeared skeptical of the law's individual mandate judge Kurt angle heart expressed frustration that Congress hadn't settled the matter why does Congress want the article three judiciary to become the taxidermist for every legislative big game accomplishment that Congress a cheese Massachusetts was one of the state's defending the law and joining me is the Attorney General of Massachusetts more hilly thanks for joining us general great to be with you again what do you explain the basic argument in the case well sure provide some context remember it was years ago that Congress passed the affordable Care Act it was challenged the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA as constitutional Republicans members of Congress tried seventy times to repeal the affordable Care Act it's when you saw people take to the streets in town halls in protest and ultimately they failed in the effort to repeal now what happened is a group of Republican state AG's and governors filed a lawsuit to try this from a different angle and that is to challenge the A. C. A. in court and at the time the justice department was supposed to consistent with its constitutional duty and obligation to send the ACA but what happened unfortunately is that the justice department is not defending the ACA and and number of states like Massachusetts California New York and others have joined now to defend the affordable Care Act because it is imperative that we keep this law in place lives depend on it for health care markets depend on it and unfortunately this is just another effort to sabotage access to care and really wreak havoc with when the Texas judge struck down the law in December many legal experts said it was an out liar decision it wouldn't survive an appeals court but most observers at the hearings he say that two of the three judges appeared to side with the Republicans states arguments well let me take a couple things first I'm not gonna read much into the questions asked by the judges on the panel the fifth circuit I think we need to wait to see what their willingness but I agree that the district court's decision is an out liar in my view is not consistent with the law it doesn't follow the law and that's exactly why this matter has been appealed now to the fifth circuit I expected to go to the Supreme Court and hopefully the Supreme Court will rule in a way that once again preserve the affordable Care Act because you know what this is about it's not about anything more than politics and really trying to undo something that happened during the Obama administration what I'm doing the ACA would do is put health care at risk for more than a hundred and thirty million Americans who have pre existing conditions who are now insurable because of the ACA with the hundreds of thousands of people across the country who benefited from Medicaid expansion through the ACA lose that we've got all these young people who are now covered on their parents care up to the age of twenty six who would lose access to that care and we've got community health centers and other providers whose funding and livelihood basically is at stake this is about the stability of our entire insurance market and it's also about saving lives and making sure that people across the country have access to the care they need that's why we're in court that's why we're defending the ACA I hope the fifth circuit ruled in our favor and reverses what really is a wrong headed decision by the District Court tax and ultimately will be prepared to fight this all the way due to the Supreme Court we have got to provide access to healthcare the ACA is something that is working it is big now into our markets and to undo that sabotage this is really I think morally wrong a problematic but it's economically stupid and it really will set us back so these federal judges are looking into whether the individual mandate is unconstitutional whether the law can stand without the individual mandate are they taking into account what you just described what would happen to health care for millions of Americans if the law is found unconstitutional well there's a lot of do that they are in and I sure hope that that is something they look at they also are going to look at the actual intent of Congress at the time the law was passed in in our view in in the view of a bipartisan group of legal scholars who filed a brief in support of our position defending the legality of the ACA looking at the package that Congress with a pen it is clear that they intended this law to stand regardless of an individual mandate being in place regardless of the tax penalty being the place which has now been taken away well it seems after hearing that the attorney for the justice department struggled at different points to explain what would happen if the judges found the law unconstitutional they can't articulate it because they don't want to articulate it the fact of the matter is it's going to result in people dying in this country people will not have access to health care that have access to it now it's also good we can have it for employers and our health care market our health insurance market which by the way is one six of the economy in the country and so they don't want to call out the truth about what will happen let me also remind folks what happened here the justice department was set to defend this law and then it got an instruction by Jeff sessions and president trump to no longer defend the law and actually is which side in challenging the law every lawyer the justice department who is working on the case and prepared to defend the law was removed from the case or resign and replaced with lawyers who are now in court it's crazy it's wrong and most of all it's illegal well thank you so much for joining us that's Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey coming up on Bloomberg wall a surprise in Scotus by the numbers I'm June Grasso this is Bloomberg.