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Oregon, Washington Join Appeal Of Affordable Care Act Ruling

<p>Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in Salem, Oregon, on Feb. 17, 2015.</p>

Alan Sylvestre

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum in Salem, Oregon, on Feb. 17, 2015.

Attorneys general from 16 states and the District of Columbia have filed a notice of appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging a lower court decision declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Oregon and Washington are among those challenging that decision.

The notice of appeal filed Thursday is in line with earlier promises to challenge a federal district court judge's December ruling, which ultimately sided with Republican state attorneys general who brought the challenge to the ACA. 

Judge Reed C. O'Connor, in striking down the law, argued a 2017 tax bill eliminating a penalty for not having insurance effectively rendered the entire law unconstitutional.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said the attorneys general take issue with that rationale, arguing the ACA can stand, absent the penalty.

Rosenblum called the ruling "an absurd interpretation of the law."

"We believe the trial judge's decision is legally flawed," she said.

Rosenblum said uninsured rates have dropped in Oregon from 17 percent to 5 percent because of the ACA.

The ACA will remain in effect while the case is under appeal. 

Copyright 2019 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Ericka Cruz Guevarra