In 2010, soon after the ACA was signed into law, Colorado’s Attorney General joined with AGs from several other states to bring a lawsuit against the federal government, challenging the legality of the individual mandate portion of the law. A total of 26 states eventually joined in the lawsuit, although even within those states there is plenty of controversy surrounding the individual mandate and the ACA in general. The legal battle will reach the Supreme Court later this year.
But now Colorado’s House of Representatives has voted to initiate an amendment to the US Constitution that would repeal the ACA. In order to be successful, state-initiated amendments have to be passed by at least two thirds of the states. So 33 other states would have to pass a resolution similar to what Colorado has done. Given the fact that only 26 states joined in the lawsuit to challenge the legality of the individual mandate (the cornerstone of the “unconstitutional” argument) it seems extremely unlikely that two thirds of the states will pass measures calling for a state-initiated amendment that would repeal the ACA.
Although the Republican-led Colorado House passed the measure, Democratic lawmakers were not impressed. They chided the Republicans for wasting time and money on a resolution that isn’t going to end up going anywhere (presumably because of the extremely slim chances of having two thirds of the states pass a similar measure).
Given the fact that the legality of the ACA is going to come before the Supreme Court this year, I agree that the new Colorado resolution seems like a waste of legislative time. The Supreme Court will tell us whether or not the federal government has the right to make health insurance mandatory, and the states that are taking the opposing position on the matter have already joined in a lawsuit to express their position. Hopefully Colorado’s lawmakers will work together from both sides of the aisle and move on to other issues that are facing the state.