A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by the state of Maryland seeking a ruling that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is lawful, even after Congress repealed a tax penalty tied to it.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander on Friday rejected the “Obamacare” suit in a 47-page decision, although she said Maryland could bring its suit at a later time if that’s warranted.
The decision has no immediate impact on health care law.
The case had also attracted attention because Maryland sought to disqualify Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker from participating in the case.
“The effect of the court’s ruling today is simply that we must wait to pursue our case,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement.
A federal court in Texas has ruled that the ACA is unconstitutional because it imposes an unconstitutional requirement on some people to have major medical insurance, through an “individual mandate” provision in the ACA that requires many people to have a minimum level of health coverage. The judge who issued that ruling suspended the effects of the ruling while the ruling is being appealed.
Hollander was appointed by former President Barack Obama, in 2010. ACA supporters had hoped she would be sympathetic to Frosh’s arguments.
Lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department had asked Hollander to throw out Frosh’s Maryland case, arguing that the state would not be harmed as long as the ACA is still being enforced.
Nicholas Bagley, a University of Michigan law professor who has been sympathetic to ACA supporters, said in December that he believed the Maryland case did appear to be premature.
The Maryland case is State of Maryland v. U.S., 18-cv-2849, U.S. District Court, District of Maryland (Baltimore). The Texas case is Texas v. U.S., 18-cv-167, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Fort Worth).
— Read Texas Judge Throws Out Most of ACA, on ThinkAdvisor.