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Two Republican attorneys general beg courts to uphold Obamacare

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Two Republican state attorneys general on Monday urged a federal appeals court to uphold the Obamacare federal healthcare law, saying that striking it down would be disruptive for patients, doctors, insurers and employers.

The attorneys general of Ohio and Montana submitted “friend of the court” briefs to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is expected to review a December ruling by U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, striking down the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

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Dozens of patient and healthcare industry groups, including the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, American Cancer Society and seniors advocacy group AARP also filed briefs in support of the law.

The briefs come less than a week after the U.S. Department of Justice, in an unexpected legal maneuver, said the entire healthcare law should be invalidated. Previously, President Donald Trump’s administration had said portions of Obamacare should be struck down and others should survive, including a state-led expansion of the Medicaid health insurance program for the poor.

The 2010 law, seen as the signature domestic achievement of Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, has been a flash point of American politics since it passed, with Republicans including Trump repeatedly attempting to overturn it.

Democrats made defending the law a powerful messaging tool in the campaign for the November elections, in which they won a decisive 38-seat majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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The House submitted a filing last month to the appeals court in support of the law, as did a group of 17 mostly Democratic-led states including California and New York.

The lawsuit that led to the Texas ruling was brought by a coalition of 20 Republican-led states including Texas, Alabama and Florida.

It centered on the law’s so-called individual mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance or pay a penalty. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge to the mandate, ruling that the penalty was allowed through Congress’ power to tax.

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In late 2017, however, Trump, a Republican, signed a tax bill reducing the penalty for not buying insurance to zero. The states challenging the law argued that the mandate was no longer a tax, and was therefore unconstitutional.

O’Connor agreed, and found that the rest of the law could not be separated from the mandate, meaning it must be struck down entirely.

About 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare exchange plans, according to the U.S. government’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Peter Cooney

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘Keep Marysville as white as possible’: Michigan candidate offers shockingly racist spin on Trump slogan

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A Michigan candidate derailed a political forum by putting a shockingly racist spin on President Donald Trump's new campaign slogan.

The president has updated his "Make America Great Again" slogan from 2016 to "Keep America Great," which he unveiled last week with new merchandise, and a city council candidate in a state he won three years ago echoed the theme in an explicitly racist remark, reported the Times Herald.

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Hong Kong protesters stage ‘human chain’ as city braces for fresh airport protests

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Thousands of chanting Hong Kong protesters joined peaceful “Baltic Chain” links of hands on Friday, with almost three months of anti-government demonstrations showing no sign of let-up across the Chinese-ruled territory.

Demonstrators, some masked, some using hand wipes to stay clean, linked hands across different districts as others held up banners thanking overseas nations for supporting “freedom and democracy” in Hong Kong.

In 1989, an estimated two million people joined arms across three Baltic states in a protest against Soviet rule that became known as the “Baltic Way” or “Baltic Chain”.

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Internet responds to death of billionaire conservative activist David Koch by reminding everyone what he stood for

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Billionaire conservative political activist David Koch has just died. He was 79. With his brother he founded and ran the massive Koch Industries. He was worth an estimated $48 billion.

Koch will be lauded by some as a philanthropist – his name appears on buildings like New York City’s Lincoln Center, and he donated to hospitals, museums, and universities. But many Americans will remember him as one of the major players behind the Tea Party, and using his vast wealth to help massively reconstruct American politics into, some say, the vitriolic insanity we see today.

Jane Mayer, who literally wrote the book on “Dark Money” in politics, including the impact of the Koch brothers, last year penned another deep dive into their history.

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