The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the ACA will remain in effect in the months ahead, despite the White House’s decision to pull its funding from the law and to temporarily shut down its exchange exchanges.
The justices also rejected a request by two states that sought to overturn the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and to bar the federal government from taking more money from the programs.
The case was brought by Oregon and Washington, both states with large numbers of Medicaid enrollees.
Both states argue that the Supreme Court decision to let the law stand is unconstitutional because it violates the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
Oregon and Washington argued that the decision was based on the premise that states have the power to determine whether to expand Medicaid, not Congress.
If the Court disagrees with that position, they argued, then Congress is bound to follow suit.
“The Court is the ultimate arbiter of how Congress can fulfill its statutory and constitutional obligations,” they wrote.
“As the Supreme Judicial Court has repeatedly explained, the Constitution does not mandate the exercise of Congress’s power to grant benefits to states.”
States that have opted to expand their Medicaid programs must take all of the federal money that is guaranteed to be spent on those programs.
But that means states that don’t do so will have to make up the difference.
“We are not bound by the Court’s decision, but we must comply with the decisions of the lower courts that have decided that Oregon and the other states cannot comply with their obligations under the Affordable Act,” Oregon and New York’s attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, wrote in a letter to the court.
New York’s Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also wrote that his office will continue to defend the states in court.
“There are a lot of issues that we have to work through in the next year,” Schneiderman said.
“The Court has decided that, to the extent that the Court says that a state is not bound to take in Medicaid dollars, that is going to be a real problem in the future for us.
We’ll continue to fight for those states and continue to work to make sure that they get those dollars.”
The court was asked whether states that opted to increase their Medicaid funding under the ACA would be able to do so without taking in federal funds.
The justices wrote that states must decide what to do with the funds.
“States are not required to take Medicaid funds.
Rather, States may adopt a policy that does not require them to do anything that would result in the payment of federal income tax to an individual,” the justices wrote.
“But states may decide that, for some reason, they do not wish to take federal funds.”
The justices said the states’ “policy” is subject to federal law, and the court has “no jurisdiction to intervene to determine that such a policy is inconsistent with federal law.”
States are allowed to opt out of the ACA, but they must take at least $100 million of the $1.9 trillion in federal money guaranteed to the states.
That money was originally set to be used to fund the ACA.
The court said states can’t use it to help them cover costs of expanding Medicaid.