The state of Ohio, lead by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the federal government Jan. 26 over fees associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) paid by state and local governments. DeWine says the fees amount to an unconstitutional tax.
Joining the state in the lawsuit are Warren County Board of Commissioners President David Young and Warren County Prosecutor David P. Fornshell. The University of Akron, Bowling Green State University, Shawnee State University and Youngstown State University also joined the suit.
The fees in question must be paid by nearly any organization that insures its employees and amount to about $63 a person per year. In Ohio, those fees amount to more than $5 million paid last year by the state.
The money collected from the fees goes toward a reinsurance pool, which covers insurance companies if they lose money by setting premiums too low. The fund was written into the ACA by Democrats for 2014, 2015 and 2016 as insurance companies adjust to the new law.
The lawsuit says the fees amount to an unconstitutional tax on state and local governments.
“The states are not the federal government’s tax collectors, and the Obama Administration should refund these illegal taxes immediately,” DeWine said in a statement.
Democrats say DeWine and Warren County are playing politics.
“We believe that the real intent of our Republican state and county leaders is to score political points by attacking the Affordable Care Act,” the Warren County Democratic Party said in a statement regarding the suit. “The real question is, how much will Warren County spend to fight this unnecessary legal battle, led by Attorney General Mike DeWine?”