12 states voice support for ACA's Medicaid expansion

Share this content:
Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA)
Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA)
A group of attorneys general and a governor filed an amicus brief in February with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.

The friend-of-the-court brief urges the court to disregard arguments made by plaintiffs in Florida and 25 other states, who say the law's expansion of Medicaid is “an attack on the federalist system.”

The ACA requires states to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals younger than 65 with incomes of up to 133% of the poverty level. Opponents argue the expansion would strain state budgets and have asked the court to apply the “coercion doctrine.”

However, the attorneys general argue state participation in Medicaid is voluntary.

“The Medicaid expansion significantly changes who is eligible for Medicaid, but the ACA does not change the basic structure of the program,” the brief states. “The ACA thus strikes an appropriate, and constitutional, balance between national requirements that will expand access to affordable healthcare and state flexibility to design programs that achieve that goal.”

The state attorneys general are from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Vermont. Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire (D) also joined the amicus brief.